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Be Free: The Art of Navigating Your Jealous Emotions

Be Free: The Art of Navigating Your Jealous Emotions

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

Before we begin this article, let me just say:

Everyone gets jealous.  It’s okay.

In case you were not aware, we are all human.

No, but really, jealousy is a natural emotion. How you respond to jealousy is a choice. We all have to make choices on how we respond to our feelings. I have found over the years; I am able to evaluate my emotions better. Jealousy is something I do not let take over my life, and it has brought me more joy than I could ever imagine.

Nevertheless, jealousy can be a healthy emotion if you learn to navigate it. Jealousy can be your biggest motivator or your strongest downfall. You choose. How do you want to live your life? Do you want to go your entire life looking at other people’s lives, or do you want to live?

Are you wallowing in your jealousy?

According to clinical psychologist, Christina Hibbert, jealousy becomes a problem “when we act out in jealousy, or we wallow in it.”  Essentially, jealousy becomes negative in your life when you let it consume you. When jealousy begins to creep into every part of your life, you need to evaluate why you are letting that emotion control you.

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”  -Steve Furtick

This quote pinpoints the cause of jealousy. We are too focused on the exterior of another person’s life that sometimes we forget to dig deeper. Everyone has their ups and downs. You might believe someone’s life is much easier than yours, but the truth is, everyone has their good days and their bad days.

Social media is a breeding ground for jealousy. All the beautiful pictures and the happy statuses and false perception of perfection make us believe that we are the only one struggling. But isn’t this thought process irrational?

After all, social media does not show you the challenges that a person had to overcome to get to where they are. It does not show the emotional obstacles, the hard work, and the determination it took for that person to post that beautiful picture you just liked.

So What Underlies Jealousy?

Ninety-nine percent of the time, jealousy stems from insecurity.

“We feel threatened, or less than or not good enough,” Hibbert said. “[W]e fear that someone else’s strengths mean something negative about us.”

The best way to overcome jealousy is to learn how to navigate it better. In recovery, learning to navigate jealousy is an important tool because you will see people in different stages of their journey.  There will be some people doing amazing things in their recovery. However, the important thing is to remember that at one point, they were once where you were.

5 Ways to Navigate Jealousy

  1. Be Honest With Yourself.

    “Awareness is fire; it burns all that is wrong in you. It burns your ego. It burns your greed, it burns your possessiveness, it burns your jealousy – it burns all that is wrong and negative, and it enhances all that is beautiful, graceful, and divine.”Osho

    The first step is to admit you have a problem, right? Yup, this applies to jealousy too. Most people who are jealous do not even realize it. Jealousy can manifest itself as anger, irritability, anxiety, or even depression. One time, it took me an entire week to realize my reaction to something stemmed from jealousy. However, the moment I realized, I was able to overcome that emotion. Ask yourself, “Are any of my emotions arising from jealousy?” Assessing your jealousy opens the door to learning.

  2. Ask Yourself: Are You Insecure?

    “A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.”Robert A. Heinlein

    Jealousy stems from insecurity. The goal of this step is to acknowledge all the things you are insecure about and write them down. Are you insecure about your body? Are financial struggles holding your back? Do you have goals you never accomplished and envied others who have progressed more?
    If the answer yes to any of these questions, then you have work to do.  Use jealousy to motivate you in your journey, not hold you down. If you spend your day feeling sorry for yourself, you will get less accomplished in the long haul.

  1. Practice Gratitude.

    “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus

    I know this is going to seem crazy, but one day, someone will be jealous of you. Someone is likely jealous of you right now. They could be jealous of your health, your age, your wisdom. They might even be jealous of your ears. Who knows? We all want what we do not have. Practicing gratitude is being thankful for what you already have. It is acknowledging the accomplishments you have made in your life.Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Gratitude is not always easy to practice, but it is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself. By practicing gratitude, you can put things into perspective. Stop being jealous and start being thankful.

  2. Let Go of Your Jealousy.

    “People come to me and they say they would like to be happy, but they cannot drop their jealousy. If you can’t drop your jealousy, love will never grow — the weeds of jealousy will destroy the rose of love. And when love does not grow, you will not be happy. Because who can be happy without love growing?” -Osho

    Jealousy is not an emotion you need in your life. Jealousy is toxicity in your soul. Holding on to jealousy creates hatred in the body. Tell yourself you do not need this emotion any longer. Imagine the resentment flowing through your body and breathe the jealousy you feel out of your system. Repeat a mantra and meditate until the jealousy leaves your system. Let it go.

  1. Transform Your Jealousy.

    “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”  – Nelson Mandela.

    Learning to manage your emotions will teach you how to respond better to jealousy. Jealousy is an excellent motivator. If you find yourself becoming jealous of someone’s body, lifestyle, or stage of life, you can use that emotion to make a goal for yourself. Jealousy helps you understand the things you desire for in your life. Think about the sacrifices that are required to achieve that person’s success. Are you willing to make those sacrifices? If not, why are you jealous? Learn the steps needed to obtain the goals that you see other people accomplishing. Understand your jealousy and create goals for yourself. Stop wasting time on jealousy and use that emotion to create a life even you would be jealous of. See what I did there?

Jealousy is a natural emotion everyone experiences. Jealousy becomes a problem when we let it take over our lives. If you find yourself becoming jealous, the time is now to assess your journey.  You have the ability to change your life.  Create the life you want today. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Is Addiction an Attachment Disorder?

Is Addiction an Attachment Disorder?

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

Author: Shernide Delva

There are many theories on why some people struggle with addiction and others do not. Some say it is due to environmental factors while others point to biological changes in the brain. It will take more time to understand addiction entirely. However, each day researchers learn more about it. One of the theories being suggested is the attachment theory of addiction. This theory delves into addiction from birth and says that life circumstances lead children to develop a survival mechanism that encourages them to seek outside nurturement. If a child is not getting the attention they need, they attach to something that will fulfill that need. Could this attachment be related to addiction?

What is the Framework of Attachment Theory?

To understand the attachment theory of addiction, we must define it and understand how it works. The attachment theory states that children who do not grow up in a secure environment learn unhealthy attachment skills. Therefore, in treating addiction, it is critical that treatment provides a model of secure attachment, so individuals can understand how to respond to pain and discomfort other than acting out in addictive behaviors.

As humans, we have a longer period of dependency on caregivers, more than any other mammal. Not only do we need our caregivers for food and safety, but for emotional connection, affection and love. When we are infants, we naturally turn to our caregiver in times of distress. Babies cry, and they learn they have support when they need it.

Here is what it looks like when secure attachment does not happen: Baby is upset and turns to their caregiver for comfort and connection. However, instead of their needs being addressed, the baby is ignored, left alone or abused for having needs. Over time, this patterns results in the child learning not to turn to their caregiver in times of distress.   The child will stop seeking care and comfort from their caregiver, and instead, look for ways to regulate and self-soothe from the outside world.

This period in life is where some researchers believe addictions starts to develop. As a child grows in this unhealthy attachment environment, they learn not to turn to humans for care and comfort. Instead, they seek alternatives. Addictions to drugs, food, and rituals around food like over- or under-eating become coping mechanism for replacing security a secure attachment would have provided.

The Internal Working Model

Furthermore, in infancy, a child learns necessary skills for survival and develops what the attachment theory calls an Internal Working Model (IWM). Our IWM helps us find out how to view the world and ourselves. A child’s IWM is dependent on their upbringing. The theory argues that a child’s attachment style has a significant impact on whether they will develop a substance abuse dependency.

To fully understand unhealthy attachment, you should first understand secure attachment. Secure attachment is when a caretaker shows awareness of a child’s emotions and quickly attends to the child when they are distressed. The theory suggests that when a child is properly taken care of, they feel free to explore the world and acquire independence because they develop a sense of certainty that their caretaker will be there if anything goes wrong. They rarely feel uncertain or insecure in their independent journey because they know they have a caretaker there if needed.

However, if the attachment system a child has growing up is deficient, the child will struggle with emotional regulation as an adult. Children raised in an insecure environment grow up learning to blame themselves when they are unable to provide for their emotional needs on their own. Instead of developing security in a healthy manner, they will use addictive substances or behavior to define comfort and safety.  The use of addictive substances and behaviors will lead to continued dysfunction and continued addictiveness.

Treating Addictiveness through Attachment-Oriented Therapy

Recent studies positively confirm a link between insecure attachment and substance dependence. Fortunately, there is hope. “Attachment-Oriented Therapy” or AOT is a way of “eliciting, integrating and modifying styles represented within a person’s internal working model.” (Flores 2004). The therapy works to shift the internal working model an addict has acquired to self-sooth since childhood.

The point of the therapy is to teach those struggling with addiction how to regulate their emotions and feelings, so they avoid seeking outside sources as a means of managing their emotions.  Addicts learn how to explore the deeper problem of why exactly they use their addictive behavior to escape their emotional pain and where this method of survival was rooted.

AOT is rooted in providing a way for individuals to explore themselves from the inside out. Attachment theory states that a model is necessary for patients to understand how to stop seeking answers on the outside and learn to heal. By providing a haven for addicts to learn to feel and express emotions, a better solution can be found.

Learning how to regulate emotions and self-sooth are skills that we develop from infancy. Therapies like AOT help in reestablishing methods of secure attachment. If you struggle with managing your emotions, seeking help is the first step. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Should It Be Illegal to Deny a Pregnant Woman a Drink?

Should It Be Illegal to Deny a Pregnant Woman a Drink?

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Until last week, bars in New York could refuse to serve pregnant women alcohol, or ban them from entering. Some restaurants even refused to serve raw fish to pregnant women. However, thanks for updated guidelines released last week by the city’s Human Rights Commission, pregnant women will now have a choice.

But should they?

The city’s Human Rights Commission aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination against pregnant women. Expectant mothers can now decide to eat or drink whatever they want, and establishments who deny them can be penalized. This new law raises an important question all throughout the nation: Should pregnant women be denied the right to drink?

For some, the answer might seem obvious. Of course, pregnant women should not be allowed to drink! After all, it has been proven that alcohol increases the likelihood of birth defects and developmental issues. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can increase the risk of a premature birth and result in negative outcomes.

Risks of alcohol consumptions during pregnancy include:

  • Distinctive facial features. The newborn may have a small head, flat face, and narrow eye openings. These differences become more apparent by age 2 or 3 years old.
  • Learning and behavioral problems
  • Growth Problems: Children exposed to alcohol may develop slower than other kids of the same age
  • Birth Defects
  • Problems bonding and feeding

Despite these risks, the answer is not that simple. Some argue that denying pregnant women the right to drink undermines the right she has to choose what she does with her body. The argument points to Roe vs. Wade and pro-choice as reasons to why a woman should be able to make the personal choice of drinking or not drinking while pregnant.

“Judgments and stereotypes about how pregnant individuals should behave, their physical capabilities, and what is or is not healthy for a fetus are pervasive in our society and cannot be used as a pretext for unlawful discriminatory decisions in employment, housing, and public accommodations,” say the new guidelines.

The guidelines were created to help clarify a 2013 city law designed to protect pregnant women in the workplace. The law specifies that it is illegal to refuse to hire or promote someone because they are pregnant. It also states that it is unlawful to deny an application from a pregnant applicant.

“Accommodation of Pregnant women cannot be a favor,” said Azadeh Khalili, executive director of the Commission on Gender Equity. “It is a human right and the law in New York City.”

These two laws seem reasonable to the average person. After all, it would be a clear form of discrimination to stop a woman from working or living in a home because she made the choice to have kids. However, the new law is taking discrimination to a whole new level by stating that restaurant and bars should not have the right to refuse a pregnant woman a drink.

Still, the subject of whether a moderate amount of alcohol is “safe” for pregnant women to drink has been hotly debated for decades. While we mentioned some of the risks of drinking while pregnant, those outcomes typically come from heavy drinking consumption. No confirmed evidence shows that an occasional drink will do harm to unborn babies, especially after the first trimester.

In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged sexually active women to stay away from alcohol unless they were on birth control. They stated that any amount of alcohol consumed during pregnancy could raise the risk of a fetus being born with developmental issues. Many women were not happy about these recommendations. Despite these warnings, studies show that 1-15% of women still drink a little alcohol during pregnancy.

Clearly, this whole topic is a controversial manner. Many argue that women are discriminated only once they look pregnant, meaning that women who are newly pregnant can make the choice to drink while those who are months along are denied alcohol. Since the most significant damage is done in the first trimester, denying pregnant women alcohol may not prevent as much harm.

Overall, study after study reveal drinking during pregnancy is not the best idea. It is always best to put the health of your baby first, rather than take the risk of any complications. Whether or not restaurants and bars should have a  say in the manner is a topic that is yet to be fully explored. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Should Pregnant Women Face Mandatory Drug Tests?

Should Pregnant Women Face Mandatory Drug Tests?

Author: Shernide Delva

As a result of the high rates of heroin and painkiller abuse, some doctors are calling for mandatory drug tests for all pregnant women. The effects of drug and alcohol use on pregnancy is fully known to be harmful, however some argue that drug testing of pregnant women will actually cause more harm than good. Should pregnancy drug tests be mandatory?

When a pregnant woman uses drugs or alcohol throughout pregnancy, she puts her child at risk of developing neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) which produces a variety of withdrawal-like symptoms.

Common symptoms of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) include:

  • Nausea
  • Uncontrolled twitching
  • Seizures
  • Excessive and particularly high-pitched crying
  • Problems feeding
  • An inability to sleep
  • Fever

Babies exposed to opiate painkiller drugs in the womb can suffer withdrawals that are so painful, that they must be treated with morphine or other sedatives. The long term effects of babies born with NAS are still not fully known, however babies who are born with NAS are more likely to suffer from medical complications such as low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Due to the potentially severe consequences of drug use during pregnancy, many doctors have come out stating that they will require all expecting mothers to complete a drug tests. However, some argue that this will prevent those struggling from wanting to get adequate healthcare due to fear of being criminalized.

Because of this fear, doctors and health officials want to ensure that pregnant woman know they will not be punished for their drug use if the results come out negative. They want lawmakers to shield pregnant addicted mothers from punishment.

So far, legislature have taken the first step of quietly passed measures to prohibit doctors from giving results of a pregnant woman’s drug tests to police without a court order.  Without laws like this becoming mainstream, many pregnant women struggling with drug addiction will be too afraid to come forward.  However, the symptoms of NAS are too severe to ignore:

“Their care is very labor intensive because they’re nearly inconsolable,” said Dr. Mark Gentry, an obstetrician at Hendricks Regional Health in Brownsburg. “It’s heart-jerking and becoming much more prevalent.”

Gentry’s hospital is one in four in the state of Indiana that will start a pilot project testing pregnant women for drugs with the intention of promoting treatment, not criminalization. For now, women are allowed to opt out of the screenings since they are not legally required to do so.

Gentry states that many women will feel uncomfortable agreeing to the tests for fear of punishment. Under current law, doctors must call child welfare authorities if they feel a child is being abused. That could include cases where a child is exposed to drug in the womb, though no law specifically states this, and the state doesn’t track the number of drug-dependent newborns.

Sadly, hospitals have seen a spike in drug-dependent babies. The rate of babies born with drug dependency nearly quadrupled from 2004 to 2013. Now, every 27 of every 1,000 babies admitted to intensive-care are admitted due to drug related issues. Many states like Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina have tightened legislation to reduce the number of babies born with drug dependency. However, Gentry warn that laws like this actually scare woman away from the care they truly need.

Laws that focus on criminalizing pregnancy women struggling with drug addiction may be harmful to those who are suffering the most. Instead, laws that reaffirm women that they will not be criminalized are more likely to result in more women coming forward with their challenges.

Overall, the main goal is to prevent innocent babies from being born with NAS symptoms. Are mandatory drug tests for pregnant women the solution? If you are a pregnant women struggling with addiction, please come forward. It is not just your life, it is the life of your newborn at risk. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Rapper Macklemore’s Relapse and Return to Recovery

Rapper Macklemore’s Relapse and Return to Recovery

Author: Justin Mckibben

The well-known hip-hop artist Macklemore, born Ben Haggerty, earned himself quite a following a few years ago when he broke out on the scene  with his breakout album, The Heist, which won him the 2014 Grammy for Best Rap Album. Macklemore and collaborator Ryan Lewis also scored the Best New Artist Award, along with a bunch of No. 1 singles.

One thing setting Macklemore apart from his peers was his speaking openly about his recovery from drugs and alcohol, and his music sending messages of hope and inspiration. His status as a sober musician was very public and seemed to draw even more fans toward his positive influence with some inspiring songs about recovery from addiction.

So it was a bit of a bummer recently to hear he admitted in an interview he’s in the process of recovering from a relapse. Still, his honesty should be admired considering how difficult it can be for some, and his shared experience might help others avoid making similar choices.

Price of Fame

32 year old Macklemore and 27 year old Ryan Lewis retreated to their native Seattle, Washington to work on new music after they had grabbed up a mantle full of awards for their initial album, and it was in this Macklemore has noted he began slipping back into some of his old bad habits and how he began to regress to a more destructive youth, trying to escape from the new found fame and the downsides that came with it.

In an interview he stated:

“I held it together for a while. But, eventually, I stopped going to my 12-step meetings. I was burnt out. I was super-stressed. We weren’t sleeping — doing a show every day, zigzagging all over the country. In terms of the media I was getting put into a box that I never saw for myself. The pressure and the fame — everything. All the clichés, man — like not being able to walk around, having no privacy, and from this TV appearance to this TV appearance, and the criticism, and the lack of connection, and the lack of meetings — all of that put into one pie was just…I just wanted to escape.”

One good thing is he was quick to point out where he had made his mistakes and what brought him to relapse. Between stress from his work, feeling disconnected, and not keeping up with his program of action which he used to maintain sobriety he found himself wondering if he could safely use, which turned out not to in his best interests.

Tough Times

Macklemore admitted that he was not able to get back on the wagon right away, and said it actually took the intervention of his fiancee, Tricia Davis, finding sleeping pills hidden in his shoe at the SXSW festival for him to even try to sober up.

This was short lived as he kept putting himself around drugs to catch ‘contact highs’ before jumping right back into smoking weed. He experienced the typical pattern of bargained with himself about sobriety that so many addicts are familiar with, saying:

“You know, like, Monday, I’ma stop…. OK. Tuesday, I’ma stop…. OK, f— it, I might as well go on to the weekend. Sunday, I’m done. But after this bag of weed…,”

The relapse took a turn for the worst when he started attending business meetings high and stopped making music, then he started to see the faults in his choices,

“I felt so dumb. I felt like I’m just wasting time. What am I escaping here?”

Eventually a major life change for Macklemore gave him a new reason to rededicate himself to working his 12 step program again to try and save himself.

Back to Basics

Macklemore stumbled back and forth through his relapse for a little while, but in September 2014 he found out his fiancée was pregnant with their first child, and everything changed. Macklemore started attending his 12-step meetings again, and is making an effort to find his way back to the basics and grow up, saying:

“Since I heard that Tricia was pregnant, I was like, ‘I need to grow up right now.’”

His new sobriety has also helped to get the creative juices flowing.

“…as it always works, the minute that I start actively seeking recovery — not just sobriety, but recovery — music is there. It always has been. Songs write themselves. My work ethic turns off-to-on in a second and I get happy again. I get grateful again.”

Looking at the transition he went through in his relapse, Macklemore seems to be aware of where he fell short and how to address these issues in his life. His emphasis on 12 step meetings and the connection he felt his active recovery has to his passion in music shows he has a great deal of respect for his sobriety and the means by which he has chosen to keep it.

Artists and celebrities are human just like the rest of us; sometimes they recover and sometimes they relapse. Thankfully there is always recovery even after a relapse. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

 

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