(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Probably one of the biggest misconceptions of recovery for people on the outside looking in, whether they are spectators or potential members, is that sobriety is boring. Many people believe that in recovery there is no room for excitement and adventure in the night life. Some people think it is hiding in meetings and holding onto a “Big Book” like a life preserver. So when we talk about the sober club life, people are frequently confused, sometimes even terrified for us.
But the truth is sobriety is about freedom. Some of us experience our recovery in different ways, and not everyone is the same. There is freedom in the fact you can practice your recovery in ways only you may have that intrinsic connection to. So the sober club life is not an theoretical concept, it is a gift some find in sobriety.
Now, as more young people are becoming active in the recovery community, the search for the night life in recovery is taking new form. New sober clubs are making waves and gaining fans all over the world. Now, one of the hottest Miami clubs is starting its own sober club life.
Sober Club Life: Daybreaker in Miami
In a city known for its nightlife, the sober club life finding such an exclusive spot something entirely new. Daybreaker, the early morning dance party, debuted at LIV nightclub this past Wednesday morning with a great deal of success. While it isn’t exactly a “nightlife” event, since it’s going down while the sun is coming up, it is a unique clubbing experience.
After over 4,000 people emailed Daybreaker about coming to Miami to bring its brand of sober club life to South Florida, co-founder Radha Agrawal told the Miami New Times,
“LIV then approached us to partner, and we are excited to help tell a different story and define a new way to connect and self-express.”
Instead of dark and brooding music, the soundtrack is fun and uplifting. Soul house, funk house, disco house. The goal is to start the day off right, with high energy and inspiration. The environment emphasizes joy, mindfulness, and intention. Last year Brimer went into detail about this, stating:
“We want to take out all the bad stuff associated with clubbing: the drinking and self-destructive behavior and mean bouncers, and just bring people together,”
The sober club life event begins at 6am. Tickets for the Daybreaker morning run around $20-$35. With growing popularity, some events have reached a crowd of around 400-500 attendees.
Sober Club Life: Daybreaker Lineup
The lineup for the Miami launch is currently a short list, but seems pretty legit. It’s not just for shaking respective groove things, but for a high energy start to the day. The big lineup included:
- 6am to 7am- Yoga with “rockstar yogi” Pablo Lucero
- 7am to 9am- Signature dance party with beats from DJ Alyx Ander
The idea is to wrap it all up in time for plenty of people to head to work. Since it is a morning affair, the menu makes sense.
- Instead of a liquor bar, there is coffee and fresh juice (of the orange or fruit variety)
- Instead of drugs, the club offers breakfast
The idea is to get the morning kicked off with dancing and movement, because these activities releases endorphins and other happy chemicals in the body. The Eventbrite for the Daybreaker states:
“Our goal is to bring Miami together with more mindfulness, wellness, mischief, self-expression and camaraderie.”
“With everything going on in the world these days, we need it more than ever.”
So, for those who want to start the day with sober clubbing, the Daybreaker give you yoga, dancing and good food for your good vibes.
Sober Club Life: My Experience
While I have not had the opportunity to check out the sober club life via Daybreakers, I was very fortunate to begin my journey in sobriety with a similar concept. A few years ago I was lucky enough to receive treatment at Palm Partners Recovery Center in Delray Beach, Florida. Every day starts off in pretty much the same way. After breakfast I was given a chance to dance with the community, with a colorful light show and live DJ. It was pretty counter-intuitive at first, but quickly became a highlight of the day. Over three years later, I am the DJ.
There is absolutely something to be said about getting up and active in the morning and what it does to set the tone for your day. I can only imagine Daybreakers is getting plenty of people looking for a sober club off to a great start.
Since my initial experience at Palm Partners, I can say I have continued the habit of being expressed, energetic and active in sobriety. I have been to raves with hundreds upon hundreds of people in Miami. I’ve had the chance to see a lot of awesome performers live in various venues across South Florida, and I have taken many opportunities to experience the fun that comes from the freedom of sobriety. All this makes me want to focus on one important concept.
Sober Club Life: The Freedom of Sobriety
There is a passage in the primary text of the 12 Step Fellowship that speaks on the freedom sobriety provides to those who seek it with honesty and thoroughness. It is possibly one of my favorite passages, and it states:
“He [the alcoholic] can go anywhere on this earth where other free men may go without disaster, provided he remains willing to maintain a certain simple attitude.”
There are those who would debate the interpretation of these words. In the context, the quote is referring to an individual who was once considered an utterly hopeless alcoholic by a great physician. This expert opinion tells him he will never regain his position in society. However, the paragraphs following the pages further express the incredible phenomena of “spiritual experiences” that create exceptions to the most hopeless cases.
Some may take this story as one of warning. I, however, have a different perspective. These few sentences give me great hope, because they assure me I am a free man in sobriety.
The important piece for me is the “simple attitude” I keep. I believe that for me to keep this amazing gift of freedom, I have to maintain my understanding of who I am, what my experience has taught me, and how I impact others. The design for living to me means being introspective in personal inventory, faithfully accountable to those I can help, and willing to seek more extraordinary experiences that will inspire a new perspective. That same 12 Step literature tells me:
“We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality – safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us.”
In this position of neutrality, I feel safe. The problems of the past, the obsession, have been removed. So I go where any other free man can go; clubs, concerts, anywhere that this new and amazing life has given me the opportunity to be, because I am a free man. A sober club life is nothing abstract at all; it is simply what some of us chose to do with the freedom recovery blesses us with.
Not drinking or using drugs is only the beginning. Life is so much more. I, as a man in recovery, must be willing to do more if I am to fulfill my life. That, in turn, has given me freedom. Taking the first steps can be the hardest part, but we want to help. You are not alone. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Here we are going to discuss some expert opinion on the molecular neurobiological aspects of each of The 12 Step Program.
Understanding of the neuro-molecular biological keystones of The 12 Steps may actually be an important step toward sobriety for some, especially those who rely heavily on the tangible logic of scientific reasoning. To understand and embrace principles of molecular neurobiology could ultimately lead to a better quality of recovery from addiction.
Step 1- We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.
There is science behind the “powerlessness” of the first step. Admitting personal powerlessness over addiction is actually supported by the mechanisms involved in the neurobiological circuits of our brain. Stress and the toxic-effects of the drugs themselves induce changes in brain functions such as:
These changes create:
So scientifically it is very true that the individual is powerless. The substances themselves continually short out the circuits in the brain that are meant to give people control. The recipe requires genetic predisposition and environmental elements, but everyone is technically susceptible depending on these variables.
Step 2- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Breaking down the wording of the step one could infer:
- Sanity- sound judgment
- Insanity- repetitive behavior despite the harm
Poor judgment, or “insanity,” could be a cause of unusual substance seeking behavior despite risk of harm. These decisions are made worse by environmental factors including:
- Drug availability
- Non-nurturing parents
- Social-economic burdens
The individuals sanity also may be impacted by their relationship with a “power greater than themselves.”
In this case, let us look at relapse. The prefrontal cortex and cingulate gyrus are critical areas involved in relapse regulation. Impaired neurochemical functioning of these regions obstruct recovery and induce relapse, typically due to:
- Toxic substances
- Toxic behaviors
Understanding the molecular biology of the brain reward system highlights the importance of positive input from a fellowship such as the 12 Steps offer. Positive input from peers can offset unwanted gene expression. Ultimately, this can enable an individual to achieve a state of sanity and make right choices. The power greater than yourself can simply be the environmental element of your recovery.
Step 3- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
Will-power is extremely difficult to regulate in individuals born with a compromised reward system and low levels of endorphins. Will-power is based on both the interplay of genes and environmental elements in society, such as stress or shock. Early stress can cause substance use disorders in adult life as seen with epigenetic effects on Glucocorticoid receptor express.
Because the hard wiring of our brain’s reward circuitry is so difficult to override, it only makes sense the recovering addict seems obvious to look for reward outside of our genome. So in this step, the idea is to turn that focus away from drugs and toward something such as the fellowship or a spiritual path.
Step 4- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Fearless moral inventory must include the drug of choice and other Reward Deficiency Syndrome (RDS) related behaviors. A particular drug or behavior is not the only element of an addiction, it includes a range of observable characteristics resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment..
However, the inventory cannot be labeled as “right” or “wrong” because it their own evaluation of self. To understand that there are genetic and environmental aspects to addict means to understand that blame and guilt are not conducive to true self-appraisal.
Step 5- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
This step involves open reflection on our issues with using drugs. This includes the toxic effects of recurrent exposure to these substances on our minds and how that translates into our actions that impact others.
The damage of drugs on the brain’s reward networks is very physiological, and these physiological changes can result in psychological effects such as anxiety or aggression. By evaluating the inventory we have taken, we can consider the “nature of our wrongs” as being the psychological deterioration caused by drugs.
Step 6- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Many would argue that technically our character is shaped by genetic (evolutionary) forces far outside our individual control. So in that mindset it is not necessarily within our ability to change who we are genetically speaking. So, wouldn’t it be up to something greater than us, be it a ‘God’ or our own evolution of perspective, to remove the character traits that do not serve us?
With that said, our environment may influence how we have developed our responses and attached meanings to circumstances. Achievement of step 6 requires:
- Deep character analysis
- Painful realization
- Ability to dissociate the present self from the past self
By rethinking in terms of the “wrong” or “right” of an individual act, we can leave behind our attachments to actions or behaviors and offer up our character defects to the province of a higher power.
Step 7- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Humility is accompanied with gratitude and grace. Spiritual faith and humility challenge someone to accept that good intentions and honest effort alone will not always be enough to succeed. This could lead to chronic depression and relapse, especially with genetic predisposition.
However, the 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions together ask the person to believe that evil, injustice and cruelty will not necessarily always win either.
Humility and faith are not necessarily synonyms for passivity. They actually support the belief that our shortcomings can be removed by our willingness to believe that things can work out. Positive feelings translate to positive epigenetics in the brain, enhancing the chances of removing our shortcomings by expressing more effective and positive genes.
Step 8- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Behind part of this step is the old saying “water seeks its own level,” because it may be an effect of a genetic association. People often seek friends who not only have similar characteristics, but similar genotypes.
So by making amends which may eliminate certain friends that would not be conducive to recovery, an individual is truly going against the genetic grain on a molecular neurobiological level.
A form of happiness is that people exist in comfortable networks of social collectives. So as we reach out to those we have hurt to amend our relationships and our character, we reconnect with a new source of happiness.
Step 9- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
In Step 9, the achievement of making amends is subject to correlations among:
Relationships and happiness are based on neuronal hard wiring. So overcoming relationship issues is both an arduous challenge and a clear answer to achieving healing.
The degree to which someone can make amends is crucial to a healthy recovery. This is partly because mending of relationships is a gateway to the attainment of happiness. Making amends can also activate a natural release of dopamine in reward centers of the brain.
Step 10- Take personal inventory and admit to being wrong
Step 10 is the maintenance for Steps 4 and 5. It continues the practice of taking personal inventory in the 12 Steps to evaluate the self. It is important that addicts realize that depending on their genetic risk taking inventory and feeling good about the self-appraisal is a temporarily “dopamine fix”.
Beyond just having the ability to keep yourself in check and have a positive impact, when addicts continue to “work the steps” on a daily basis it also gives them a primary source from which to replenish dopamine in the brain.
Step 11- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Meditation and prayer, as suggested in step 11, increases the release of dopamine at the synaptic level. Applying the process of step 11 on a daily basis will also offset the genetically induced “hypodopaminergic brain function” by continuing to release dopamine in the synapse.
Increased dopamine will result in a subsequent proliferation of dopamine receptors, even in those with the most sensitive predisposition. The increase in D2 receptors translates to enhanced dopamine function, which will ultimately promote:
- Greater confidence
- Better comprehension
- Stress resistance
Looking outside the 12 Steps, most who study spirituality know the positive effects of prayer and meditation on the brain.
Step 12- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Here it says that working all the steps can allow an individual to have spiritual awakening. For some, one of the most fulfilling experiences they can have is sharing emotions with others. This experience itself and the impact may be decided by the synthesis and release of the brain chemical oxytocin.
Oxytocin is an important human bonding neuropeptide. However, independent of personal genetic makeup, alcohol and opiates significantly impair the synthesis and release of this chemical. So it is important to take advantage of this opportunity to create positive emotions while establishing connections.
So, by carrying the message and sharing experience we can bond further in our recovery, which helps us to rewire the brain with expressions of positive genes while also letting us detach from old meanings and produce more dopamine. All in all the 12 Steps have a pretty decent formula for working with the science of the brain to recover from a pattern of destruction.
The 12 Steps and similar programs of recovery are all very powerful tools. A holistic treatment program like Palm Partners respects the science of addiction, and many seek help here in order to establish a strong footing to move forward. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
Last week, the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released the first comprehensive report on alcohol, drugs, and health reaffirming what many in the recovery community already know: addiction is a disease, treatment is effective, and recovery is possible. The report also revealed the tragic depth of the addiction epidemic.
Here’s a basic overview of some of the facts mentioned:
- Addiction is a chronic neurological disease, not a moral failing or lack of willpower.
- Only 10% of those addicted receive treatment,
- In 2015, over 27 million people in the United States reported current use of illicit drugs or misuse of prescription drugs.
- Over 66 million people reported binge drinking in the past month.
- The economic impact of drug and alcohol misuse and addiction amounts to $442 billion each year — topping diabetes at $245 billion,
- More than 20 million people in America have substance abuse problems; 78 die every day from opioids alone.
The US Surgeon General Report:
-SUPPORTS HARM REDUCTION TREATMENT
The report supports harm reduction programs such as using buprenorphine and methadone to treat opioid addiction. The support of these programs may receive criticism from traditional 12-step programs that focus on abstinence-only rather than harm-reduction programs.
However, medication-assisted programs for opioid addiction take time, the reports concludes:
“One study suggested that individuals who receive MAT for fewer than 3 years are more likely to relapse than those who are in treatment for 3 or more years.”
-DISPROVES OF TV-STYLE INTERVENTIONS
That’s right, shows like Intervention are considered a big no-no. TV-style interventions are not helpful, the reports states. According to the report, these types of intervention TV shows may heighten resistance and attack the self-worth of the addict, making treatment less effective. Planned surprised confrontations “have not been demonstrated to be an effective way to engage people in treatment,” the report concludes.
-SUPPORTS ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
The report is positive about 12-step programs like Alcoholic Anonymous stating they do offer support services, do not require health insurance, and are free. However, it notes that these programs “are not the same as treatment and have only recently been included as part of the health care system.” Still, AA received praise for adaptability in allowing all types of people to attend meetings. Research shows AA to be “an effective recovery resource,” the report concludes.
-SUPPORTS HIGHER ALCOHOL TAXES
The report states that alcohol tax policies are effective, saying, “higher alcohol taxes have also been shown to reduce alcohol consumption.” Other alcohol-related policies supported were:
- Banning Sunday alcohol sales
- Holding bars liable for serving minors
- Limiting the density of stores selling alcohol
-EXPRESSED CONCERN REGARDING MARIJUANA POLICIES
With more states approving either medical or recreation marijuana, the surgeon general report weighed in. It cites “a growing body of research” suggesting marijuana’s chemicals can help with “pain, nausea, epilepsy, obesity, wasting disease, addiction, autoimmune disorders, and other conditions.”
Still, the report shows concern about the legalization movement saying the movement is moving faster than research. “Marijuana is, in fact, addictive,” the report says.
Understanding Addiction and Treatment: Optimism and Hope
Despite the grim facts and statistics, the report calls for optimism and hope. There have been many scientific advances in the understanding of how the addict brain works. Furthermore, treatment and prevention programs are shown effective, and various addiction treatments are awaiting approval.
The second chapter of the report explains the neuroscience of addiction. It discusses how the brain works and why addiction causes people to need more of a drug to feel normal.
“Understanding this transformation in the brain is critical to understanding why addiction is a health condition, not a moral failing or character flaw,” the report says.
The report then turns to prevention. The Surgeon General wants to understand why only some people become addicted after trying a substance. The likelihood of a person becoming addicted ranges from 4 percent to 23 percent depending on the substance. Addiction is also tied to the individual. Between 40 to 70 percent of a person’s risk of dependency based on genetics, the report says.
Understanding the reasoning behind addiction will lead to better prevention strategies. Furthermore, relapse risks are also an area needing more understanding. The report pushes for research on what increases the risk of relapse. So far, studies state it takes 4 to 5 years for the risk of relapse to drop below 15 percent.
Overall, the report exposes the grim reality of addiction while offering hope and optimism for the future. There are treatment and prevention strategies that are effective. Do not become a statistic. The facts confirm addiction is a disease. Through treatment, we can guide you to a life free from substance abuse. Do not wait. Call today.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
A common way to explain addiction is to describe it as an allergy. Not everyone who does drugs will become addicted. Just like not everyone who eats a peanut will have an allergic reaction. The general understanding is that addiction is a chronic, progressive relapsing disease of structural and functional brain abnormalities. The understanding of addiction as a disease has allowed for better treatments and has made tremendous progress in reducing stigma.
However, when it comes to the allergy theory model of addiction, many question the accuracy. Does addiction really stem from an actual allergy? Time to get to the bottom of all of this.
Dr. Silkworth: The Allergy Theory (March 1937)
The allergy theory of dependency was first thought of by Dr. William Silkworth, M.D., in 1937. The theory was later inserted into the “Big Book” of Alcoholic Anonymous in a section titled “The Doctor’s Opinion.” It was Dr. Silkworth’s opinion that chronic alcohol addiction was, in its way, an allergic reaction. It was a phenomenon only present in certain people.
Silkworth noticed that people treated for alcoholism responded in two different ways. Person A would completely heal after treatment and return home to either drink socially or not drink at all. At first, person B would respond to treatment in a positive manner. However, they would lose control of their drinking if they ever tried to consume alcohol again. To explain this distinct difference, Silkworth concluded that there must be some allergic reaction present in person B that makes drinking an uncontrollable behavior. Otherwise, why would the two patients respond to treatment so differently?
The rationale behind Silkworth’s theory of alcohol addiction was quite sound. Those who are psychologically powerless to alcohol are also physically powerless. Just like an allergy, in some people, vital organs in the body fail to produce certain enzymes required to complete the decomposition of alcohol (or more scientifically ethanol.)
The Addict vs. Nonaddict Conclusion
In a non-alcoholic person, the body produces the right amount of enzymes to break down ethanol which reduces the high risk of uncontrollable drinking. In an alcoholic person, the body processes alcohol the same way as a non-alcoholic person, until it reaches a point within the liver and pancreas where there is not enough enzyme production to complete decomposition. This may be why there is an intense “craving” to continue drinking that prevents alcoholics from being able to control the amount they drink once they begin.
Ultimately, he concluded:
“The inevitable conclusion is that true alcoholism is an allergic state, the result of gradually increasing sensitization by alcohol over a more or less extended period of time… some are allergic from birth, but the condition usually develops later in life. The development and course of these cases are quite comparable with the history of hay fever patients…”
Further he notes:
“such patients may be deprived of liquor altogether for a long period, for a year or longer, for example, and become apparently normal. They are still allergic, however, and a single drink will develop the full symptomatology again.”
80 Years Later: Is It Really An Allergy?
Although Silkworth was on the right track, addiction is not exactly an allergy. An allergy, by definition, is a reaction of the immune system to a given chemical. A skin test can easily detect allergies. If alcoholism were an allergy, it would respond to a skin test. Alcoholism is not a true allergy in the same way that peanuts, soy, or bee stings are allergies. AA believed the allergy theory of addiction was helpful in explaining the serious physical and psychological effects addicts endure after one drink.
“The doctor’s theory that we have an allergy to alcohol interests us. As laymen, our opinion as to its soundness may, of course, mean little. But as ex-problem drinkers, we can say that his explanation makes good sense. It explains many things for which we cannot otherwise account.”
Furthermore, defining addiction by comparing it to an allergy is an accurate way of describing the disease. Although Silkworth was scientifically incorrect, he was on the right track. Despite his error of concept, Silkworth made many concise, astute observations in an effort to identify the root of addiction.
In 1975, AA finally addressed the allergy concept stating, “alcoholism is not a true allergy, the experts now inform us.”
While addiction may not technically be an allergy, Silkworth’s allergy concept has been enlightening. It helped us develop a mode of treatment that is useful in helping individuals abstain from addictive behaviors. Addiction is a disease, and anyone struggling with it knows how powerless it can be. We have the tools to get you living a healthy, sober, productive, fulfilled lived. Don’t wait—call us today.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
What is the key to success? Everyone wants to know but the reality is the journey to success is not easy. Many articles have noted the different ways successful people think that makes them different from the masses. The majority of successful people have had to sacrifice time; money and even family in order to achieve their dreams.
Successful people do not spend time dwelling on the negative. They know that being aware of their thoughts and replacing negative ones with positive affirmations allows them to focus on what they want to achieve. Most successful people have some ritual they do each day to relax their mind and increase mental clarity. It could range from meditation, yoga, or journaling.
5 SENTENCES SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE AVOID:
- “I CAN’T DO THIS.”
Successful people do not doubt their dreams. They avoid thinking of anything but the goal ahead of them. They believe in themselves so much that they will endure the hardships to reach their aspirations. Success never comes easy, so it is important to change your mindset. If you lose faith in yourself, your goals will come to a standstill. Dreams can’t come to life with a negative mind.Successful people, no matter how much money they have, where they grew up, or whom they know, have a fire burning in them that no one can put out. They fuel that fire by believing in themselves and knowing wholeheartedly that they have everything within them that need to succeed.
- “I HATE [PERSON, PLACE OR THING HERE]…”
Successful people do not fixate on things they hate. Instead, they emphasize the things they love. Focusing on the negative only pollutes your mind and slows you down. Direct your attention to things that lift you up and excite your mind. Spending energy on others will only bring you down.Furthermore, successful people choose to see the good in others because they realize that being kind is ideal for success. Love expands and hates contracts. Focus on emotions that bring you closer to success.
- “I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH.”
Remember, no one is perfect, so you should dismiss those thoughts that you are not good enough. You cannot attain success by doubting your progress. Pushing forward even if you feel you are a work in progress is the best way to improve your skills. Do not let your thoughts hinder your journey. Successful people are aware of their worth and value they bring.
- “I’LL NEVER ACHIEVE SUCCESS.”
It is pointless to look into the future with negativity. The future is uncertain, and once you think your aspirations are beyond reach, you have already set yourself up for failure. Successful people know they cannot predict the future, but they continue. They do not see failure as an option.
- “I DON’T HAVE TIME.”
Time is the most common excuse for not pursuing a goal. Time is valuable, and often it can feel like we do not have enough time to work on achieving our goals. However, if you rework your schedule, you can find time to devote to your dream. Even if it means you can only dedicate 15 minutes to your dream a day, consistency Is key. A lack of time should not stop you from achieving success. Choose how to spend your spare time wisely.
It is important to have goals and aspirations in recovery. Often, it can feel like the road to success is never-ending, but you do not have to feel this way alone. Find a support system that can keep you accountable. A major key to progress is knowing when to ask for help. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135