Safe, effective drug/alcohol treatment

All across this country in small towns, rural areas and cities, alcoholism and drug abuse are destroying the lives of men, women and their families. Where to turn for help? What to do when friends, dignity and perhaps employment are lost?

The answer is Palm Partners Recovery Center. It’s a proven path to getting sober and staying sober.

Palm Partners’ innovative and consistently successful treatment includes: a focus on holistic health, a multi-disciplinary approach, a 12-step recovery program and customized aftercare. Depend on us for help with:

Drugs and Alcohol Are Not the Problem, They Have Been the Solution!

Drugs and Alcohol Are Not the Problem, They Have Been the Solution!By Thomas G. Beley, Ph.D., LCSW

A Perfect Solution 

Why does a person use mood-altering substances?  The answer is basic and simple. Because it is fun and it often makes a person feel good.  It is an extremely fast and effective way to feel either more relaxed, more euphoric, or simply to relieve any pain or discomfort. It seemingly appears to be a perfect solution to the problems of life, at least initially.

Much has been written on the science of addiction, genetics, and neurobiological brain processes that contribute to the addictive process. However, neurobiology and genetics alone do not fully explain the addictive process.  A person born with the genetic predisposition to addiction does not necessarily become an addict.  Similarly, a person free of a genetic predisposition is not immune to the addictive process.  Everyone has the potential to become addicted. 

So what else is it that influences the addictive process?  Behavior, life experiences, and how the person has developed certain levels of functioning areas in their life play a critical role.

Stumbling Into Addiction

It may be surprising to learn that people often unknowingly stumble into the addictive process.  They do this through learned and repetitive behaviors that occur developmentally over time with family, friends, and general life experiences.  Although it is true that some people may become addicted to a substance right from the very beginning due to their genetic make-up, for others it often takes years and sometimes decades before a person actually falls victim to the addictive process. Research has demonstrated that behaviors, particularly repetitive behaviors over time, can activate dormant genes.  This may explain why certain people who start off as recreational or social users become full-blown addicts in later years.  Often, people simply train themselves into becoming addicted.

The difference in the length of time it takes a person to become addicted, genetics notwithstanding, is directly related to how effectively that person has learned to adapt to the surrounding environment and how they have developed certain functioning areas of their life.  Personal behavior, regardless of genetics and the neurobiology involved, plays a critical role in the addictive process.

An Early Start  

One of the interesting facets about substance use is that it appears to start at a relatively early age, typically during adolescence. The National Institute of Health estimates that approximately 85% of all adolescents are experimenting with drugs and alcohol.  These statistics have not really changed for the past twenty years.  The question for parents today is not whether my child is drinking or drugging, but whether my child is going to weather the storm and escape the addictive cycle.

Avoiding Pain

Why is there such a preoccupation with drug use among the young?  One answer involves the pain and pleasure sensors that we all have.  Humans are hard-wired to avoid any type of pain and to experience pleasure whenever possible.  It is an evolutionary protective mechanism in order for our species to survive.  It has also been shown that given a preference, a person tends towards avoiding pain as opposed to seeking out pleasure.  However, to complicate matters, research has also demonstrated that when engaging in a pleasurable experience in order to reduce pain, the pleasurable experience on the part of the person tends to be more pleasurable.  As a result, the mind and body work together to ensure a balance between the pain and pleasure mechanisms in the brain.  Our pain sensors alert us to a potential problem, while our pleasure sensors reduce the pain in order to maintain a focus.

Undeniably, adolescence is an extremely turbulent time.  Given even an ideal living situation, an adolescent still has to struggle with a multitude of challenges including hormonal changes, changes in brain development, the struggle with independence, the desire to establish a sexual identity, and all of these contribute to a considerable level of stress.  These developmental stressors alone can easily trigger a person’s pain sensors and their threshold of discomfort.  Now we add in certain external influences such as divorce, blended families, relocation, poverty, peer group pressure, a lack of education, trauma, and a general need to fit in and now the pain sensors are not only exposed but are conceivably being rubbed raw.  This is usually the time that a person begins to experiment with substances.  The start of this use is usually not directly associated with the discomfort the person may be experiencing.

Typically the introduction of drug and alcohol use is innocent by itself.  It usually starts with curiosity or what the person has been exposed to via the peer group or family. A person begins to experiment with something that alters the mood and in many instances, at least in the beginning, is an extremely effective way to alter one’s state. However, the result of this innocent curiosity renders an immediate effect.  The adolescent feels good and in some instances euphoric.  The person discovers an effective avenue of relief and a particularly effective solution to any type of discomfort.

Although some would assert that their first experience with drugs and alcohol was not necessarily a pleasant one, the pleasure a person derived from fitting in or being a part of a peer group was undeniable. In either case, the person found a way to feel good. The person found an effective coping strategy that was immediate and effective.

A Downward Spiral

However, “feeling good” this way has certain inherent risks.  As a result of the euphoric effects of mood-altering substances, there is the potential for a downward spiral. It is what the “feel good” does to a person that can create problems.  Due to the euphoric effects brought on by a substance, there can be a tendency to depend on the substance or the behavior as a means of relief or a coping strategy.  Often, a person begins to neglect the natural support systems around them in favor of the instantaneous effects of a substance.  As a result, important functional areas of a person can begin to deteriorate.  What was once a source of support such as family, friends, hobbies, career, health, are now neglected in favor of “getting high.”

Level of Functioning and Well-Being

The level of functioning areas refers to key specific developmental areas of a person’s life.  These include the following areas:  intrapersonal, interpersonal, social, familial, vocational, physical, and spiritual.  It is believed that how a person functions in these specific areas plays a major role in how effectively a person maintains a healthy and productive lifestyle regardless of genetic make-up.  It is also believed that these particular areas play an instrumental role in both the addictive and the recovery processes.

From the perspective of the addictive process, most of the stress that is produced emanates from one or more of these areas.  As a person begins to negotiate the developmental life cycle, each of these areas presents new and evolving challenges. Whether it is transitioning from childhood to adolescence, leaving home to attend college, getting married or divorced, relocation, or simply raising children, there is always going to be a challenge, and the subsequent stress of that challenge is always confronting the person.  This is not to say that these challenges are bad.  Often, these challenges are what make a person grow and feel a sense of self-worth.  However, these challenges also bring a degree of stress.  As a result of these challenges, a person is subject to the potential dysregulation in the neurochemistry of the brain.  The resultant symptoms that may occur, which may even be “normal feelings”, i.e., feeling sad and angry due to the loss of a job, can trigger a person to seek relief.  For many, the use of substances is that viable relief, which can also be the beginning of a learned behavior that results in the addictive process.

From the standpoint of the recovery process, the level of functioning areas can be viewed as new potential sources of dopamine.  The development of skills and the ultimate successful functioning of a person in any of these areas can bring about a sense of competence and self-esteem.  Although it is important to help a person to stop drinking and drugging, it is equally as important that the person begin to develop, refine, and maintain their skills in the level of functioning areas.

The following level of functioning areas are considered to be important markers as they relate to a person’s ability to adapt successfully to the environment and ultimately to develop a strong sense of self which is particularly important in developing healthy coping skills.  The belief is that the stronger the skills a person has in these areas, the stronger their recovery is going to be.  It is important to note, however, that there is no set way to function in these areas.  The key question is whether the person has developed the necessary skills to deal with the stressors in these areas.  It is also important to determine whether these skill sets have been productive coping skills.  Furthermore, has the person developed the necessary skills in these areas to not only have an avenue of relief and support but to have these areas be a source of pleasure and happiness?

A person’s level of functioning areas can be viewed as follows:

Intrapersonal

     This refers to how a person views both their sense of self and the world.  It is a person’s general belief system about how they need to function in the environment at hand. How a person views their self can have a major influence on the behaviors a person adopts and uses to adapt to their perceived environment.  Does the person see themselves as an “addict” who is likely going to relapse? Or, do they see themselves as a person who is recovering from a “disease,” a biological illness, ready to get back into life?  Is a person excited about the prospect of recovery or are they frightened? In all of these cases, the meaning that a person gives to their perception of what is occurring is going to influence their behavior and their behavior is going to influence their perception.  perception plays a significant role in the approach to life.  So too for the person suffering from an addiction, it is important for that person to understand their personal belief systems and how those beliefs have been an asset and a detriment in their life.

Questions to Ask:

  • How do I feel about myself?
  • How well do I know and understand myself?
  • What characteristics do I like or dislike about myself?
  • What kind of language do I use in my self-talk and inner monologue?
  • How do I handle successes and challenges?

Intrapersonal Principles to Live By:

  • Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, access and express inner feelings and emotions.
  • The more self-confidence one has, the easier it is to meet people and to form healthy relationships.
  • Understanding one’s self leads to understanding others, which helps to resolve conflicts constructively.
  • Having high intrapersonal skills provides tools to adjust to new situations and change more quickly and with less stress.
  • Live life with honesty and integrity – dishonest and negative actions result in guilt and shame.
  • Develop patience and impulse control – take time with decisions rather than use knee-jerk reactions.
  • A strong sense of self enables one to be more resilient against negative behavior that is aimed at oneself.
  • Increasing self-esteem enables one to lead with one’s own values rather than follow the values of others.
  • Expressing internal self through externals – dress, groom, and act in ways that reflect your higher self.
  • High intrapersonal skills are connected to academic, career and life success.

10 Ways to Develop Intrapersonal Skills

  1. Set aside quiet time alone to meditate and to reflect upon one’s inner self.
  2. Identify and write down thoughts throughout the day and begin to turn negative thoughts around to positive ones.
  3. Start a gratitude journal by writing down five things for which you are grateful every day.
  4. Ask someone close to you to do an inventory of your positive aspects and what you can improve upon.
  5. Make a list of your values – evaluate if your values and behavior changes when around other people.
  6. Write your life story in the third person describing how that character (i.e., you) overcame challenges.
  7. Study a biography of a great person whom you aspire to emulate.
  8. Examine your wardrobe by evaluating what items will help you feel good about yourself and gain self-respect.
  9. List impulses that you have during the day and what you did instead of acting on them.
  10. Record your daily successes and positive behaviors, however big or small.

Interpersonal

This refers to how a person interacts and negotiates with others in a relationship system.  It refers to the ability to recognize the uniqueness of others as well as the varying needs of others and that the needs of others may conflict with own.  Another important facet of this area is the ability of a person to recognize the interdependence that exists in a relationship.  Interdependence refers to the ability to feel comfortable in being dependent on someone else, yet, at the same time, knowing they have the capacity to be independent.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • How well do I deal with others?
  • How do I resolve conflict?
  • What are my behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs towards others who are similar/different from me?
  • How well do I work as a team player? As a leader? As a follower?
  • How do I build trust and respect from my friends, families, bosses and co-workers?

Interpersonal Principles to Live By

  • Set your own high standards for what is healthy and positive behavior – do not just follow the crowd.
  • Evaluate people based on their actions rather than projecting your own biases and prejudices onto them.
  • Do not be afraid of authority figures – respect them as needed but know that you have your own power that can never be taken away.
  • Be a good team player – know when to take leadership and when to follow orders.
  • Deal with a conflict head-on – be honest with yourself and the conflict so that it does not become a greater problem.
  • Take responsibility for what you did to others in the past and change what you can in the present.
  • Share and express your feelings with others – let people into your world.

10 Ways to Improve Interpersonal Skills:

  1. Find three people you have not met and ask them questions about themselves.
  2. Make or buy a gift that shows appreciation for someone who has helped you.
  3. Share with someone with whom you feel safe something about which you are embarrassed.
  4. List negative behaviors of someone you dislike and then evaluate how you have similar behaviors.
  5. Find one positive thing about the people around you and let them hear it.
  6. Keep track of the number of times you smile in a day and then increase that amount the next day.
  7. Offer to do something nice for somebody without expecting anything in return.
  8. Spend the day talking to people without saying any negative statements or voicing any complaints.
  9. Take 10 minutes every day to set aside time to talk to a loved one about issues.
  10. Actively listen by not responding verbally to someone’s comments or advice and consider what they say.

Social

This refers to the social life and established social network that the person uses for support, recreation, and general relaxation. The social network can include friends, organized groups or clubs, hobbies, recreational activities, and other various outlets used to promote support and relaxation.  Social supports in a person’s life are extremely important since they play a crucial role in reducing stress as well as building healthy relationships with others.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What healthy outlets do I have to be social and connect with others?
  • How comfortable am I when I meet new people?
  • What kind of activities do I like to do?
  • How can I make sober friends?
  • What are ways that I can attract positive people in my life?

Principles to live by when making and keeping friends:

  • The more positive you become the more you will attract positive people.
  • Do not get too comfortable and fall back on friends who are a bad influence.
  • There is someone for everyone – people will like you despite your flaws.
  • When you isolate yourself you are building your own prison.
  • Do not be afraid of rejection – the more you try the higher the odds are of acceptance.
  • Share of yourself – open up to others about who you are and do not be afraid to be vulnerable.
  • Focus on the people who like you – not everyone is going to like you and that is fine.
  • Do not let negative self-thoughts exist in your mind; when they appear, focus on positive thoughts.
  • Face to face interaction is always best – if you meet or communicate online meet up in person.
  • Sincerity goes a long way – people can tell if you are not honest or appropriate in your motives.
  • Have a positive outlook on people – nobody is perfect and everyone just wants acceptance.
  • Do not settle for a social network that is anything less than one that will move you forward in life.
  • Remember that the person you meet is feeling just as awkward and unsure of themselves as you are.
  • Be open to people different than you- you always have at least one thing in common with someone.
  • Take initiative – challenge yourself and make the first step in initiating a friendship.
  • Do not get discouraged – attracting new, positive people takes time.

10 Ways to Build a Positive, Healthy Social Life:

  1. Start with someone you know through work, school, church, support group or a friend of a friend.
  2. Explore a hobby about which you are passionate about and join a club or take a class related to it.
  3. Follow the news and pop culture so that you have something about which to talk.
  4. Volunteer with a cause in which you believe and actively participate in the organization.
  5. Make a list of values and characteristics you want to see in yourself and in the people around you.
  6. Plan how you will start a conversation at a social gathering and try it out on someone new.
  7. Make a habit out of collecting people’s contact information so you may follow up with them later.
  8. Plan to do an activity or attend an event you enjoy and invite others to join you.
  9. Attend a social networking event in a field that you are or would like to be in.
  10. Ask someone you respect to tell you what you can improve on when meeting new people.

Family

     Family refers to both the immediate and extended family and/or kinship system with whom a person has been intimately and emotionally involved over the years.  The “family” are those people, not necessarily blood related, who still continue to play a role in providing support, sustenance, and are likely to have an on-going involvement in the life of a person.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What does family mean to me?
  • What unresolved issues do I have with my family?
  • How can I improve my relationships with my family?
  • What kind of family do I want to have?
  • How can I become a positive and inspiring family member?
  • In what ways can I better communicate with my family better?

Principles to live by when dealing with and understanding your family

  • Have compassion for your parents – parenting is the hardest and most demanding task in the world.
  • Learn to forgive – if a family member treated you poorly or hurt you, chances are the same thing was done to them when they were growing up.
  • Discover and evaluate your boundaries as an individual and as a family member.
  • Family relationships and conflicts can reflect to you on what you need to work to improve yourself.
  • Be responsible for yourself – take responsibility for the things you can and cannot change about you and your family.
  • Unspoken family rules oftentimes speak louder than spoken rules.
  • Family roles and behaviors shifts after significant crises and events.
  • The more you understand your family, the more you understand yourself.
  • Take the path of least resistance – family power struggles can be more trouble than they are worth.
  • Birth order plays a major part in your role in your family and your personal life.

10 Ways to Improve Your Family Life:

  1. Write down what you consider as your family, blood-related or not, and evaluate each relationship.
  2. Spend an hour or more every week or month with family members with whom you do, and do not, get along.
  3. Build a family tree – ask your parents and relatives about your family history.
  4. Research your cultural background and list the values that you and your family have adopted from this.
  5. Interview a family member about their life history and write a short biographical story about them.
  6. Make a list of values and characteristics that you want to have in forming your own family.
  7. Write down your unresolved family issues and share it with a therapist or a loved one.
  8. Enroll in family or couples counseling or take a course in family communication.
  9. Make a list of values and beliefs you have adopted from your family and evaluate if they are right for you.
  10. Identify family taboo topics and think of ways to approach these topics in a non-threatening way.

Professional/Vocational/Academic

     This refers to how a person has progressed through their life as it relates to their academic, career, and professional development.  This is important because many people spend the majority of their time in life on the job.  A good question for someone to ask oneself is whether or not they are satisfied and fulfilled with what they are doing. Because life is often very precarious and presents conflicting demands, it is always important to evaluate whether one is where one wants to be.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What are my short and long-term professional goals?
  • How can I work towards advancement in my field?
  • How do I present myself in the job force?
  • What are ways I can show leadership and initiative in my job?
  • How can I build upon and strengthen my skills for my job or career field?
  • How well do I get along with my supervisors, colleagues, co-workers, and employees?

Principles to live by when building your professional skills

  • Everyone was born with a purpose in life – find ways to use your purpose in your career.
  • Dress appropriately for the job, or one notch higher than what is expected.
  • Think about your job as being a way to give back to humanity.
  • No job is beneath you – there is always something to learn from every job that helps you in the future.
  • Identify your passion and find ways to express that passion in your job.
  • Keep up with the competition – meet the minimum requirements for your field and go beyond them.
  • Take leadership and initiative in your job – set a higher standard for your company.
  • Leave the office gossip behind – form strong relationships with co-workers and work as a team.
  • Take measures for self-care – you are more productive and positive at work if you are not burnt out.
  • Take advantage of job trainings and workshops – continually improve your job skills.
  • Know and understand what you value in life and build your job around those values.
  • Challenge yourself – get feedback from your boss and peers about how to push your self further.

10 ways to develop professional skills:

  1. Write down the activities you enjoy and find ways to incorporate these into your field of work.
  2. Make an inventory of the skills/strengths you have in your field and which other leaders in your field also have.
  3. Enroll in school or a course that will move you toward your professional goals.
  4. List your professional goals and share it with anyone and everyone around you.
  5. Evaluate and identify any issues with authority and develop address them.
  6. Examine what is in your closet and begin to develop a professional or work-appropriate wardrobe.
  7. Ask your friends and family at what you are good and on what you need to improve for the workforce.
  8. Take a course or read a book on how to develop leadership skills.
  9. Read the biography of a leader in your field and take notes on how they got where they are.
  10. Write an obituary of what you achieved in your life, then work backward on how to reach those goals.

Health and Physiology

This refers to the health and physical conditioning of a person. It also refers to whether or not a person has reached their goal regarding their health and physical conditioning.  Even people with chronic illness and conditions have the ability to improve.  It has been well documented that eating properly and doing consistent exercise not only makes us healthier, it also strengthens the immune system. The body has often been referred to as the temple of our mind.  If our body is not fit, our mind is not going to reach its highest potential.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What is the overall state of my body?
  • How much exercise do I do on a daily/weekly basis?
  • What am I doing to nourish the body?
  • How can I increase my energy through natural, beneficial ways?
  • How can I motivate myself to take great care of my health?

Principles to live by for developing health and physical skills

  • Small steps towards a healthier lifestyle are better than a complete overhaul of your current lifestyle.
  • Restlessness and boredom may be your body’s way of telling you to get up, stretch or exercise.
  • Annual physical examinations by a doctor must be an integral part of any health program, especially since they can help identify latent problem areas.
  • Getting off drugs will help reveal physical, sleep and/or eating issues that were previously covered up.
  • Everything in moderation – cross-addictions can make you go overboard on exercise or diet plans.
  • Regular sleep is important – wind down by the end of the day, go to bed early and wake up early.
  • For illnesses and physical issues, explore natural remedies and alternative therapies when possible.
  • Sugar cravings can become strong when detoxing from drugs – choose natural sugars from fruit and vegetables as much as possible.
  • Think of your body like a vehicle that needs to be cleaned regularly and maintained daily for maximum potential.
  • Staying physically active helps maintain and build a more positive self-image and world outlook.
  • Pain, discomfort, and ailments are temporary and will pass like everything else.
  • Cut down on cigarettes and stop smoking through cessation methods
  • Treat your body to massages, chiropractor, and other alternative therapies.
  • Vary your physical exercise and activities to prevent stale health regimens.
  • Give your body time to adjust to new health activities – feeling physically better comes over time.

10 Ways to a Healthy Lifestyle:

  1. Start your morning with stretching and light exercise for 20 minutes while listening to energizing music.
  2. Develop a daily/weekly schedule of all activities involving movement and/or exercise.
  3. Explore and use your insurance benefits or get on to a health care insurance plan for prevention.
  4. Identify and approach someone reliable to be your exercise buddy or health monitor.
  5. Enroll in a cooking class focused on making simple healthy meals.
  6. Join a gym, fitness class and/or sports team in your neighborhood.
  7. Take short evening walks after dinner.
  8. Plan and shop for meals and healthy snacks for the week.
  9. Sign up with a nutritionist to evaluate your current health habits and to develop a new program.
  10. Keep a food journal to find out what you are putting into your body on a daily basis.

Spirituality

     This refers to a sense of purpose and meaning in one’s life.  It is the ability of a person to bring meaning to their life experiences and to make sense of one’s e experiences and how they can contribute to others.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What is your sense of a higher power?
  • What are your spiritual values and beliefs?
  • How do you connect to nature? How do you connect to others? To the universe?
  • To whom or what do you turn when you are facing a challenge?
  • How much faith or trust do you have in what life has in for your future?
  • What are ways to build upon or strengthen your spiritual values, beliefs, and faith?

Spiritual Principles to Live By

  • Trust in what the universe has for your future – you are infinite potential and creativity.
  • Human beings all share the same core essence – treat others as you would like to be treated.
  • There are no mistakes or coincidences – you are where you are at for a reason and purpose.
  • Observe your choices and actions – there are causes and effects to all your actions.
  • Avoid religious debates and arguments – instead discuss and identify common spiritual principles and values.
  • Every moment is an opportunity to begin with a fresh new perspective on life.
  • Give up your sense of control – it is illusory anyway and, instead, trust the universe to provide for the future.  Surrender.
  • Plant the seed of intention and water it – ask for help on what you want from life and it will blossom.
  • Nothing external will ever fill what is perceived to be lacking within – go internally to discover what is full and perfect as it is.
  • Discover your true Self – one purpose of life is to find out who and what you are and what you are not.
  • Understand Spirit/God/Universe with direct experience and choose your own spiritual path.

10 Ways to Improve Your Spiritual Life:

  1. Spend a few minutes each day sitting alone in silence.
  2. Volunteer for a social service agency and give back to your community.
  3. Take a walk in nature and observe the flowers, trees, and grass with childlike wonder.
  4. Make a list of all the positive things that have happened in your life and see them as miracles.
  5. Visit churches, temples and religious/spiritual groups and find the right one that speaks to your heart.
  6. Collect peaceful, calm, spiritual songs and put them on a playlist or CD to listen to every night.
  7. Make a sacred space in your room that is reserved just for yourself and includes items that symbolize what you value in your life.
  8. Interview those close to you and those you respect about their spiritual values and practices.
  9. Read a spiritual book or gather spiritual writings that help inspire you.
  10. Develop a personal ritual to dispose of past hurts and wrongs and let go of the past

New Sources of Dopamine

It is important to remember that individuals in the early part of recovery are going to experience a great deal of pain and discomfort. However, what has been emphasized repeatedly herein, this pain and discomfort may not be related as much to the physiological dependence and subsequent withdrawal to a substance as to the general lack of dopamine in the neurobiological system.

Research has demonstrated that the use of substances depletes, and even in certain cases extinguishes, the natural dopamine supply of a person.  Studies have shown that dopamine receptors can remain depleted for as much as two years for those addicted to “crack” cocaine and methamphetamines. Although other studies have suggested that the increased functioning of dopamine receptors can be brought back online in the brain much quicker via behavioral stimulation and change, a sense of well-being may still take time to develop. The challenge is for the person to develop new sources of dopamine.

The Paradox of Recovery: the Pain Source is the Pleasure Source

One of the interesting paradoxes in the recovery process is that the new source of dopamine may very well come from the old sources of pain and discomfort, namely our relationship systems in the core level of functioning areas.  As previously mentioned, pain and discomfort comes from the aforementioned life experiences which include the intrapersonal, interpersonal, family, social, professional, as well as our physical and spiritual conditioning.   These are the same areas that also have the potential to provide a person with an unlimited source of well-being and pleasure. The development of these areas has the potential to be the new dopamine source.

The problem is these areas of a person’s life have been seriously neglected because of the addictive behaviors, or in the case of people who have been addicted since their early teens, these areas have never really been developed at all.  However, it is in these very areas of a person’s life that has the unlimited potential to increase self-esteem, provide a natural network of support, and to provide a person with a real sense of belonging, nurturing, and love.  Although a person newly into recovery has a mountain of work ahead of them, they also have an untapped source of pleasurable fulfillment.

As a person once said when he came into treatment,

I came into treatment because my life was miserable and unmanageable. Now that I am clean and sober, I realize that my life is even more miserable than I thought but I now know it can be more manageable. I am in a black tunnel, not a black hole.  The miracle is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know what I need to work in order to get better.”

 

For over 25 years, Thomas G. Beley, Ph.D., LCSW has worked in the field of addictions and mental health. Over the decades of helping people who struggle with drugs, alcohol and mental health disorders, Doctor Beley has proven to be an expert clinician and an innovative and compassionate leader. Palm Partners Recovery Center is proud to have an executive team with experience and incredible commitment to helping others. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

What Food Can Detox My Body from Drugs?

What Food Can Detox My Body from Drugs?

Author: Justin Mckibben

Detoxing after a prolonged period of substance abuse or addiction can be the hardest part of getting off drugs or alcohol. Most people want to find the easiest, quickest way to get through the process in a comfortable and healthy way. Some people assume the easiest way to cleanse their system is with a healthier diet, and so they ask- what food can detox my body from drugs?

While it is important to try and nourish your body as best you can, there may be some misgivings as to how this will help.

What Food Can Detox My Body from Drugs: Is food enough?

The first thing we need to emphasize is that a “food detox” alone is not a sufficient enough strategy to treat any real substance use disorder. Without medical detox to provide support for adverse health effects, or to monitor in the event of new complications, it can be dangerous.

In fact, there are many substances, including alcohol, that have incredibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Some are even potentially fatal. So to rely on a clean, strict diet as the only means of detoxing the body from the effects of drugs or alcohol is an unnecessary risk.

Without the therapeutic assistance and support of addiction specialists, it can be an incredibly stressful and overwhelming process. While some aspects of a healthier diet can help gradually clear the mental fog, that alone is still not enough to deal with co-occurring issues like:

We will talk about some foods that can help, but we also want to let it be known to anyone who may read this that a better diet isn’t going to solve the problem.

What Food Can Detox My Body From Drugs: Diet tips that may help detox

Detox is often a different experience depending on the individual. The kind of drugs you used and for how long will determine the kind of damage the body has to bounce back from. Food is not a complete plan for a safe detox and should always just be one aspect of a comprehensive recovery plan.

Still, we want to include a few kinds of food that can aid in the comfort level and progress of detoxing from drugs. Fruits and vegetables are huge and pretty much all are helpful, but here are a few examples.

  1. Water

Ok, so it may not be a “food” as much as a beverage, but it is essential to life in general. Experts do suggest that 9-12 glasses of water a day can help clear the kidneys and liver of built up toxins.

For an added bonus- include lemon. According to the World Health Organization, citrus fruits are rich in the antioxidant de-limonene, a powerful compound in the peel that stimulates the enzymes in the liver to help flush toxins from the body.

  1. Tumeric

Curcumin, a compound derived from the bright-orange spice Tumeric, works as a powerful anti-inflammatory in the liver. A study in the journal Gut states that enhancing you diet with curcumin could significantly reduce bile duct blockage and limit scarring (fibrosis) by interfering with the chemical reactions of the inflammatory process.

Some research trials have also suggested Tumeric can be used as an anti-depressant. A recent study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research with 60 volunteers diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), such as manic depression, showed that patients found cucumin as effective as Prozac for managing depression.

While there are very few human studies, this research was the first clinical evidence to suggest Tumeric could be used in this capacity.

  1. Asparagus

This green vegie (great with a side of steak) is not only credited as a hangover cure, but the amino acids and minerals in asparagus may also protect liver cells against toxins. This natural diuretic is said to also flush the excess toxins from your system.

  1. Beets

Yes, even these roots are great detoxifying foods. Beets contain a type of antioxidant called betalains that help repair and regenerate cells in the liver. You may notice you keep seeing the liver as a repeat customer on the list. That is because the liver is the body’s primary detox organ, so any food like beets that provides it with extra support can help ease through cleansing the body.

  1. Almonds

Again, this one is all about fixing up the liver. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers found a clear connection between increased vitamin E intake and a decrease in liver cancer risk.

In a study the participants who consumed the most vitamin E in almonds, which came to about 15 almonds, displayed a 40% lower risk of liver cancer than those who consumed less.

  1. Sunflower Seeds

While these can be substituted for almonds as a good source of fiber, they also provide a decent dose of magnesium. This mineral keeps blood pressure normal, maintains steady heart rhythm. Many drugs can do some serious wear and tear on the heart and blood pressure, so in the process of trying to regulate these while detoxing, sunflower seeds can do some good.

  1. Protein

Since there are those who are opposed to any meat, we won’t pretend meat is the only source of protein. However, given the amount of stress the addicts body can experience, protein is big on helping repair tissues and cells while restoring organs. Go with fish and chicken, or go vegie with stuff like

  • Nuts
  • Quinoa
  • Rice and Beans
  • Hummus

You can also look for more natural protein supplements.

  1. Healthy Fats

Fish, nuts, avocados and certain oils contain fats that can help satiate the body. They’re also high in Omega 3. This fatty acid is believed to not only help avoid feelings of depression, but some also say it relieves the cravings associated with addiction.

  1. Seaweed and Algae

Now you may be thinking- wait, these are food?

Yes, and they are a powerhouse supply of good stuff for a detoxing body. They are rich in a source of nutrients and antioxidants, including:

  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B, C and E

They fight inflammation and damage to tissues caused by free radicals. Seaweed and algae are also rich in:

  • Protein and amino acids that help the body to fight infections
  • Fiber that encourages the growth of good bacteria in the gut while maintaining bowel regularity and removes toxins and fats from the body

They also help detox our body by protecting the liver from toxic damage. Seaweed and algae are a good source of:

  • Iodine, which is essential for metabolism
  • Magnesium and potassium which protect blood vessels and fight the effect of stress

Nutrients in seaweed and algae also support the health of adrenal glands, which can suffer constant stress, resulting in chronic fatigue, mood changes and damaging the immune system. Seaweed and algae do a lot of amazing stuff for a detoxing body.

What Food Can Detox My Body From Drugs: The Best Way?

Again, there is a great deal of good a more balanced and healthy diet can do when recovering from substance abuse. The above list provides a few examples of some great additions to your diet while trying to build better physical health.

Yet, it is important to remind the reader that food in itself is not the best way to detox the body from drugs.

Drug addiction is a very complex disorder, and it impacts the individual in unique and devastating ways. While a strong diet may help with comfort through the detox period, the body and the mind will typically need much more support. A safe medical detox, complete with a clinical staff and therapeutic support, is best for building a foundation for holistic healing. Empowering the body by being nourished is a big bonus. A safe medical detox facility should provide a balanced and supported diet while helping the individual with any needed medications and other support.

Addiction treatment centers like Palm Partners that recognize the important nutrition plays health living, and in addition to addiction treatment we use this knowledge to help clients not only to sustain a healthy recovery but also a healthy mind and body. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

3 Kinds of Selfie Takers Out There: Which Kind Are You?

3 Kinds of Selfie Takers Out There: Which Kind Are You?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

What kind of selfie do you usually snap? Is it one with an obscene amount of editing to look glamorous? Is it one of you and the family at dinner or out in some exotic location on vacation? Or is it a pic of you and a volunteer crew at a charity event? When you hashtag and share it, what does that selfie say about you? What is the message you are trying to send?

Before we have talked about the dangers of obsessive selfie taking, and I have personally related to how the ‘selfie society’ of today could be risky for those struggling with addiction or mental health concerns, presenting issues with narcissism or relating to depression when correlated an obsession with social media. So what kind of selfies contribute to these issues?

Well, that much might be said about all of them, depending on who you ask. The one question that might hit closer to home is- what kind of selfie taker are you?

Recent a group of BYU communications master’s students, feeling themselves surrounded by the selfie-saturated culture that is social media, decided to ask the question: what is the method to the selfie madness? This has proven to not just be a millennial problem, because your uncle and aunt do it, just like your bosses and teachers. Grandma might not be all that good at it, but she takes plenty of selfies anyway.

So why do people of all ages, cultures, genders and religions take and share selfies?

Are We All Narcissists?

Some people would say that ‘this generation’ is so self-absorbed, but again; it isn’t just one group. The answer, at least one we hear so often, is simply narcissism. But are we all narcissists?

Naaaaaaah, can’t be.

Actually, in a study recently published in Visual Communication Quarterly, those same five BYU student researchers took a closer look. In their data they show that individuals’ motives often range far past self-obsession. Sometimes our selfies are actually taken with purpose, whether we notice or not.

Steven Holiday, who completed his master’s in 2015 and is now pursuing a Ph.D. at Texas Tech, is one of the co-authors. Of this latest topic Holiday states,

“It’s important to recognize that not everyone is a narcissist,”

So to be clear on the idea of true narcissism and the connection we often misguidedly make to selfies, we should look at the definition. To refresh your memory:

  • Narcissism is defined as the pursuit of gratification from vanity, or egotistic admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, that derive from arrogant pride.
  • Narcissistic personality disorder(NPD) – is a condition that is estimated to affect only 1% of the population.

After analyzing survey results and interviews, researchers say they can identify three categories of selfie-takers:

  1. Communicators

These are individuals who take selfies primarily to engage with others for some reason. They don’t just do it for their face on a cause, but to draw followers into a conversation. One of the survey’s co-authors and current student Maureen “Mo” Elinzano states,

“They’re all about two-way communication,”

So it isn’t about the spotlight on them, it’s about shining to give others a reason to shine.

An example of this is when the election season came around and everyone, including celebrities, took an “I voted” selfie to plaster on Instagram. These photos aren’t (always) meant to brag about the individual, they are about calling others to action. People talk a lot about opinions on social media, so some people take a selfie as an opportunity to inspire action.

  1. Autobiographers

This type of selfie taker uses the art of the selfie as a tool to record key events in their lives. This autobiography isn’t necessarily to show off to their followers, but to try and preserve significant memories for themselves and their loved ones.

This group of selfie takers does also want others to see their photos and enjoy them, but they aren’t necessarily doing it for the feedback. They are cataloging their lives for their own benefit, not for the engagement that the Communicators are.

For example, plenty of people will have entire albums on Facebook dedicated to specific trips or events. They don’t (always) organize these specifically for likes as much as they do for their trips down memory lane.

  1. Self-publicists

This infamous category is the one everyone typically assumes a selfie taker falls into, but it is actually the smallest of the three groups. These are the ones who are closely linked to more narcissistic characteristics.

The coauthor Harper Anderson states the self-publicists “are the people who love documenting their entire lives,”

Harper Anderson, who is also now pursuing a Ph.D. at Texas Tech, went on to say that in recording and sharing their entire lives, these selfie takers are hoping to present their narrative in a trendy and desirable light.

Think the Kardashians. Without any real sustenance, these selfies are just for the sake of “look at me everyone” without actually having a connection to a cause.

The Collage

Personally, I present the idea of a collage style world where sometimes we blur these lines a bit. Some people may read these three types and say “I do all of these” and I get that. Perhaps we are all likely to have varied traits, but perhaps we can admit that one of these styles is our dominant selfie taking self. In this event, we can more closely examine if we are impacting our mental health; maybe even that of others.

Holiday went on to describe that identifying and categorizing the three groups is valuable in part because-

“…it’s a different kind of photography than we’ve ever experienced before…I can go on Facebook or Instagram and see that people have a desire to participate in a conversation. It’s an opportunity for them to express themselves and get some kind of return on that expression.”

Another co-author Matt Lewis states

“…years from now, our society’s visual history is going to be largely comprised of selfies. To find out why people do it, that contributes a lot to the discussion on selfies and visual communication in general.”

Our world isn’t just one picture at a time. Every moment is a collage of events happens simultaneously. We exchange the currency of our stories through an ever-expanding network of social media sites and while at times we may seem obsessive or impulsive, at least we are trying to use our new tools to connect.

It may seem strange, but I do think that regardless of whether you’re climbing a mountain in Africa, raising awareness for people struggling somewhere, or simply showing off your new hair-cut, we all have something to offer.

We all have something worth sharing.

Take that selfie. Post it. Let the “double tap” fall where it may.

The selfie is like a socially accepted addiction, and while mental health has been a close conversation to it, we hope that we can continue to learn from our compulsions and be able to help others. Mental health issues and drug or alcohol abuse frequently co-exist. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

    CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

4 Surprising Advantages of Anxiety You Might Appreciate

4 Surprising Advantages of Anxiety You Might Appreciate

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

Some would say “good things come to those who wait,” but others would add “only what is left by those who hustle.” Our characteristics can seem like virtues or defects depending on the lens through which they are examined, or the circumstances they arise from. There are always pros and cons, even if we have to take a very close look to find them. Sometimes, even the parts about ourselves we are most unsure of can be useful. So then what would be the advantages of anxiety?

How could our fear or stressful uncertainty help us? What good can come of being anxious? Here are 4 surprising advantages of anxiety.

  1. Doubt and double-checking

This one is all about balance, which isn’t easy for those who struggle with anxiety. While it is true that following up is time consuming, sometimes the time is worth it. Anxiety causes you to doubt, which can lead to double-checking. That feeling of something not being quite right can have us taking inventory, and sometimes this helps us catch things we may have missed.

One of the advantages of anxiety here is there will be many occasions when your double-checking proves useful. How many times have you asked someone if they were OK, and they say they are, but then it turns out they aren’t? Doubt and double-checking might help you push past that pretense and get to the heart of the matter.

Also, if you are depending on someone else to complete a task. Sometimes people forget. Perhaps people are afraid to ask for help. Sometimes they are misinformed and need course correction. While micro-managing can be irritating, double-checking may help you find a problem before it becomes a problem.

Yes, you may end up experiencing unnecessary stress and worry. It may become annoying to others that you need constant reassurance. In extreme cases you could even have unnecessary medical investigations due to health anxiety, leading to injuries caused by medical investigations or treatments.

Again, it is all about balance. Even if reassurance is a good thing, you can still have too much of a good thing.

  1. More careful and thoughtful

Fear is often not that useful to us, but it can be. Worry stems from fear, and the greatest danger of worry is that it is more likely to lead to inaction than it is to useful action. People who worry excessively are commonly overwhelmed by their anxieties. So much so, in fact, they ultimately don’t face their worries because resistance seems futile.

However, there are times when worry can actually be productive. The advantages of anxiety often have a lot to do with the idea of insurance. Like with any form of insurance, you are creating a back-up in case something happens, and this is useful. Just like with a car and an insurance policy, your anxiety may teach you to be more careful and protective.

That goes for your own peace of mind, your property and other people.

Worry also allows us to be more thoughtful of others, because we also come to worry about their well-being. Anxiety can help us be more conscious of our actions and how it will impact others, or how others will see us as a result. It can make us more compassionate and even more giving.

Strategic worrying is the best way to utilize this anxiety. It means making an honest evaluation of whether worrying is helping you on a case by case basis. If you connect worrying and positive behaviors, then the worrying may be worth it to you. If you are only stressing yourself without taking action, it is merely wasted energy.

  1. Prepared when things aren’t OK

This goes with the first two advantages of anxiety quite naturally. Anxious people love to rely on the idea of better safe than sorry. They have checked and double checked; they have tried to be as careful as they can. So when things are difficult, or when things go wrong, they are definitely prepared.

When things do go wrong, people with anxiety almost have the unique position of a fortune teller being vindicated. They have had time to make sure back-up plans and safety-nets in place. At the very least, they have mentally prepared themselves for that worst-case scenario. Some of us who struggle with anxiety have almost built up immunity to it.

It is not so much to say that it is good to always expect the worst, because that can lead to compromising your standards and a willingness to settle where you shouldn’t. However, knowing that you have put things in place just in case is reassuring that you’ve done all you can. Then, even if things fail you cannot say you didn’t at least do your best.

So essentially, being prepared for when things go wrong shouldn’t be an excuse to prematurely accept defeat. Instead these advantages to anxiety give you a reason to take more action.

  1. Excited when everything is OK

On the flip-side to that last point, another of the big advantages of anxiety is when you are surprised to learn that everything is OK. As we were saying, anxiety can have you preparing for the worst and jumping to negative conclusions, but when those premonitions don’t come to fruition, it is both relieving and exciting.

You basically give yourself a little rush with that experience of relief and happiness when you learn your fears have been averted, especially if your anxieties have almost convinced you that your nightmare scenario came true. That feeling of discovering everything isn’t what is seemed can be truly uplifting. This is probably the most gratifying of the advantages of anxiety.

It is nice when our expectations of a situation are exaggerated. We find some things are easier than we expect. Sometimes, this can make us even more proud of all the work we had done leading up to that moment because we overcame our fear, while still being prepared either mentally, physically or even financially not to come out OK.

As someone who has battled with anxiety a lot in life, I can say that knowing I was ready, even when I didn’t end up needing it, was an extremely gratifying feeling.

If you have an anxiety disorder it can interfere with your life in some very big ways. If you feel like you need more support with getting it under control, please consider some form of treatment. Anxiety and other psychological disorders are common to those who also struggle with substance abuse. If you or someone you love is struggling, help is available. Palm Partners offers dual diagnosis treatment to help people with mental illness and addiction issues to heal and recover. Please, call now.

    CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

$50,000 Jackpot Winner Denied Funds Due To Drug Money Connection

 

$50,000 Jackpot Winner Denied Due To Drug Money Connection

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Imagine winning a $50,000 jackpot only to be told you cannot keep the money…

Dreadful, right?

Well, that scenario just happened.

In Illinois, $50,000 lottery winner Tykisha Lofton will no longer be able to cash in her winnings. The state forfeited her jackpot because they determined the lottery ticket was bought with drug money. Illinois strictly bans winners from collecting lottery earnings if the ticket was purchased using money earned illegally.

A Sudden Change of Heart

At first, a judge ruled Lofton would be allowed to claim her winnings. The judge felt honoring the forfeiture clause would have been too harsh. However, the government of Illinois overruled that decision and ultimately the state will keep the winnings instead.

If Lofton had cashed in her ticket, she would have received a lump-sum payment worth more than $35,000. Unfortunately for her, she will not be taking home a dime.

Conflicting Stories: Who Bought the Ticket?

Authorities became suspicious when the stories behind who had bought the lottery ticket were constantly changing. Initially, Lofton told authorities she bought the lottery ticket with babysitting money.

However, in 2014, police raided the home she lived in with boyfriend Terrance Norwood. Norwood was sentenced last October on charges of drug dealing, drug possession, and armed violence. Lofton was present when the raid took place, but she insisted she was unaware her boyfriend dealt drugs.

The stories between the couple continued to conflict.  Norwood said he had purchased the lottery ticket hoping it would be a way out of buying and selling drugs. Lofton then told authorities her boyfriend bought the ticket, but she was the one who scratched off the winning numbers. She also continued to state she bought the tickets with babysitting money. Authorities soon realized the stories were not adding up and were likely fabricated.

The case made it to a Macon County judge who ruled the ticket was probably bought with drug money; however, the judge decided to reward the lottery earnings anyway. The judge felt using the forfeiture laws to take the sum away from the couple would be too harsh.

State Courts Overrule County Decision

When the state appeals court found out about the ruling, they overruled the decision.

“Because of the direct link between the lottery winnings and the funds used to purchase the original ticket, the winnings can reasonably be considered ‘proceeds traceable’ to Norwood’s illegal drug sales,” wrote the appeals court.

Ultimately the state appeals court felt it would not send a good message to let Lofton and her boyfriend continue to gain from winning earned from the selling of drugs.

Other Crazy Drug-Related Lottery Stories

This is far from the first time lottery winnings and drugs have been mixed. In 2015, Ronnie Music Jr., 44, won a $3 million Georgia Lottery jackpot but didn’t give up his day job of trafficking meth. Instead, he invested the money into his meth business. Music Jr. pleaded guilty in July to federal drug trafficking and firearms charges. He is yet to be sentenced but could face up to 10 years behind bars.

Furthermore, a 2002 British lottery winner, told The Sun in 2013 that he blew all of his £9.7 million ($14.4 million USD at the time) jackpot winnings on cocaine, prostitutes, and a lavish lifestyle. The man was Michael Caroll, and he now makes about $300 a week in a cookie factory. Despite his change in earnings, he admits he lives a much happier life these days. He stated he would have been “dead in six months” if he would have continued the lifestyle of drinking and drug taking.

All of these crazy lottery stories confirm that problems do not always disappear with money. In fact, they often become worse. Addiction and mental health affect all walks of life, and an increasing paycheck does not make the problem go away. You have to make the decision to change. We are here to help you on that journey. We have the tools to guide you to a healthy sober life. Do not wait. Call toll-free now.

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