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Author: Justin Mckibben
As a recovered alcoholic and drug addict it is a truly gratifying experience to work in the field of addiction treatment, and even more so to work for the company that helped save my life. Palm Healthcare Company is a truly unique organization that is committed to compassionate and effective treatment, and there is no telling how many lives have been positively and permanently impacted because of what they (or should I say WE) do. It is an amazing thing to be a part of, and a worthy cause to work for.
That is a crucial part of addiction treatment and recovery; work. The real work is for those trying to recover.
One thing I notice about some clients these days in addiction treatment is less of a willingness to do that work. When I was getting treatment everyone seemed desperate to do anything that would make a difference in their lives. Yet these days I see some people who act as if the program is supposed to do the work for you.
Is our current addiction treatment culture somehow convincing people they don’t have to do the work for real change? How can we work together to change it?
On to the Next One
The culture surrounding addiction treatment and recovery has changed. Breaking the stigma surrounding addiction is a critical step in helping more people get the help they need. Expanding availability is amazing and we should all work toward making even more treatment options available. It could help save thousands of the people who die every year from overdose and drug-related issues.
However, it also seems some have the idea that they will always be able to find some treatment program, legitimate or not, willing to take them. This shift toward people thinking they can just keep hitting restart has almost watered down the opportunity or having a fresh start in the first place.
This might be comforting to some people; the idea that if they don’t like one program they have options. But ultimately what people have to understand is that a treatment program can only be effective if you participate in it. You can go to a dozen different programs and still get very little value if you do not show up and try to engage in the recovery process.
We can complain about the “revolving door” metaphor all we want, but if people aren’t going to take steps toward something better, they are volunteering for more of the same.
Sadly, some people still think there is always the next place. This is part of the reason programs that put an emphasis on relapse prevention and aftercare are so important. Continued accountability can help people maintain their progress without having a nonchalant attitude about the process.
What if you never make it to the next place? Regardless, why wouldn’t you want to make this place the last place?
Of course, both sides of the culture have to take steps. Public officials, treatment providers, and advocacy groups should continue working together to better enforce regulations for treatment, eliminating criminal operators and protecting client rights.
Taking it Serious
This point actually goes hand in hand with the first. As more people are exposed to more resources they might take the availability of new opportunities for granted.
In an industry obstructed by shady operators, people can also become jaded. If you have sought treatment with programs that provide little to no real resources or solutions you might stop taking addiction treatment seriously, even if you get a great opportunity with a reputable and innovative program.
If you don’t take the treatment seriously you probably won’t take your recovery seriously, either.
Of course no one is naïve enough to say the opioid epidemic and overdose rates aren’t serious. But if we know how bad it is; if we see the devastation caused in our own lives or those we love, why don’t we appreciate that gift of desperation and commit to doing the work? Has the addiction treatment client culture taught people that it doesn’t really matter? Do clients think recovery isn’t that serious once you get past the withdrawals or the troubles you get caught up in while using or drinking?
These are valid and sometimes difficult hurdles, but many still say that is the easy part. The rest of the work comes with committing to a treatment plan and following through.
Getting Back to Gratitude
I think this may be the core concept. The culture change within the recovery community is in many ways constructive, but it also has taken some of the raw truth out of the situation for some people.
I think we should try to get true gratitude back into the culture of addiction treatment. We should be grateful that we have more resources than ever, with more professionals working to revolutionize recovery. Let us be grateful that on a national level the world is starting to have greater respect and understanding for those suffering from addiction. We should be grateful for the opportunity to get help when we finally get it because a lot of people never do.
But to the client that contributes to the recovery culture- always remember that true gratitude takes action.
If you say you are grateful to be in treatment, take your treatment seriously and participate. If you are grateful for an opportunity, don’t waste it because you think you can bank on another one right around the corner. So if you want something different, do something different instead of thinking you need to go somewhere different.
And let us all be grateful that there are more opportunities for people to find a solution that could save their life.
Cultivate Better Culture
As holistic treatment providers, Palm Partners Recovery Center will continue working to support recovery professionals within the Palm Healthcare Company organization and within our industry; to strive for better services and to unite against illegitimate operators.
But we as alcoholic or addicted individuals in recovery also need to be willing to put in some work. For anyone like me, who spent years abusing substances to the point it felt like my life depended on it, it is going to take some real work to get better.
If we as individuals want to advocate for recovery, let us advocate that people do the work. Let us appreciate the value of mental health care. Let us appreciate the value of addiction education and cognitive behavioral therapy. We can cultivate a better culture for ourselves; as clients and as providers.
WE means all of us. It means the healthcare providers, the individuals in recovery who have been lucky enough to get this far and the addicts and alcoholics out there still suffering. Addiction treatment works; recovery works… if WE do.
I punch that clock every day. I’m grateful for this work, so I do it. But WE can do more.
As a culture, we have the power to transformed and elevate the lives of millions of people everywhere through recovery from drugs and alcohol. It takes work. If you are ready to take that step and work for a better future, Palm Partners wants to help. Please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
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Author: Shernide Delva
“If you choose bad companions, no one will believe that you are anything but bad yourself.”
― Aesop, Aesop’s Fables
Friendship can be a beautiful thing if done right. Letting go of a friend can be harder than ending an intimate relationship, but sometimes there are friendships that are better to let go of than continue. When you have a friend that has the potential to affect your life in a negative way, it might be time to finally let that friend go.
When you first get negative feelings about certain friendships in your life, it can be difficult to cope with those feelings. Those in recovery should know that the people you spend the most time with influence you the most, so spending a large amount of time with friends that are engaging in negative behaviors can bring you down. Unfortunately, learning to let go of friendships is part of the process.
Friendships can be a blessing, yet staying friends with someone who is hurting you can be a downright curse. However, if you put yourself above others and understand what your needs are, you will know when it is time to cut a person out of your life for good.
Still, how do you know for sure? Below are seven signs that it could be time to end a friendship:
- They Complain About Everything
Negativity is never healthy. Even if you are having your best day ever, this person will find something to complain about. Maintaining optimism is very important, so being around someone that brings your down is definitely unhealthy.
Of course, it is always a good idea to talk about your concerns regarding their negativity, however if you find they are too stuck in their ways, it might be time to cease that friendship altogether.
- They Are Judgmental
We all pass judgments. Judgments are necessary to make decisions in our lives. However, when we make judgments about things we know nothing about, that often leads to more harm than good. Judgments can come across very ignorant and rude.
A friend who is overly judgmental may judge your behavior or even mock you for wanting to make a positive change. When you are making a huge change in your life, you need encouragement, not judgment. If your friend can not stop passing judgment, that is a sign to let that friendship go.
- They Don’t Listen
Listening is one of the most important characteristics a friend can have. You need to have someone who will listen to you when you are feeling down or just need to vent. Friends who do not listen tune you out, and churn at rapid rates when you tell them something.
If you have a friend who is more focused on themselves than they are on you that is a major red flag. Friendship is a two-way street, not a one-way street. A friend who only cares about themselves will only be interested in you if it pertains to them, or offers them some sort of benefit. Any friend like this is not a true friend at all.
- They’re Overly Critical
I am all for constructive criticism but being overly critical is a huge no-no. A friend who attacks or expresses disapproval can be extremely discouraging. You may feel insecure about talking about your struggles with that person.
There is a fine line between a friend who is trying to help you improve and a friend who simply wants to belittle your progress. Knowing the difference is the key. Once you acknowledge that your friend’s criticism is more destructive than constructive, it could be time to focus on friends who offer you more compassion and support.
- They Are Always The Victim
Friends that tend to blame the outside world for their own problems are not the healthiest to have around. In recovery, you learn to take control of your life and work on taking responsibility for your behaviors. Hanging around people who refuse to acknowledge their faults can be negative in your progress.
Friends who constantly complain about not having enough time or being “the victim” are not ideal to be around. Focus on friends who are proactive and goal-oriented. Your motivation is influenced by the inspiration you have around you. Surround yourself with inspiring people.
- They Are Not Trustworthy
Do you have a friend you would not tell a secret to? That could be a sign to drop the friendship. Trust is a major component of friendship. If you have a friend who gossips a lot or tells secrets, it can be hard to trust them. Friends who are untrustworthy are a huge red flag. Let go of friendships that are disingenuous and focus on friendships that better suit your needs.
Friendship is a beautiful thing, and good friends can transform you in the healing process. However, knowing when to let a friendship go is one of the most useful tools you can have. After all, you come first and your mental and physical health is of utmost importance. Remember, you can always reach out to someone if you need help overcoming challenges in your recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
By Cheryl Steinberg
Research on the possibility of cell phone addiction is in its infancy, and much of it centers around the habits of the youngest millennials, specifically teens and young adults, a generation that probably never was without a cell phone or, at least, it’s a blurry memory from early childhood.
The Journal of Behavioral Addictions recently published a study that found that male students report spending nearly eight hours a day on their cell phones and female college students spend an average of 10 hours a day. The study also found that about 60% of study participants self-report that they might be addicted to their cell phones.
In a press release, lead researcher James Roberts, Ph.D. said about his findings, “That’s astounding. As cellphone functions increase, addictions to this seemingly indispensable piece of technology become an increasingly realistic possibility.”
Dr. Roberts is a professor of marketing at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business who surveyed 164 college undergrads about their relationship to their phones. In order to define ‘cell phone addiction,’ he explored which cell phone activities seemed to be most associated with what the respondents considered to be addiction to their cell phones. Roberts found that there were differences in specific cell phone activities between male and female participants. For example, women most often used Pinterest, Instagram and as well as the actual call-making function and Roberts saw these behaviors as possible cell phone addiction (listening to music was not).
On the other hand, men’s possible cell phone addiction predictors were the use of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as were phone calls, texts, emails and reading books and the Bible on their phone.
Roberts asserted that the gender differences could be construed that women use their phone to foster social relationships, while men see their cell phones as a source of entertainment and usefulness.
“Cell-phones have become inextricably woven into our daily lives — an almost invisible driver of modern life,” Roberts concluded in his study. “It is incumbent upon researchers to identify the all-important ‘tipping point’ where cell-phone use crosses the line from a helpful tool to one that enslaves both users and society alike.”
Behavioral Addiction Disorders and the DSM
It’s noteworthy that gambling addiction disorder is currently the only diagnosable behavioral addiction that’s officially listed in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). According to the American Psychological Association, gambling addiction disorder is classified in this way because it is similar to substance abuse disorders in that it can be described in terms of “clinical expression, brain origin, comorbidity, physiology, and treatment.”
Cell Phone Addiction Around the World
In a 2013 study in the UK, researchers surveyed a sample of 1,529 teenaged students regarding their cell phone use and classified 10% of the participants as “problematic users.” This portion of participants tended to consider themselves to be expert users of cell phones, used their cell phones extensively as well as identified that their peers had a similar problem.
In Turkey, a study of college students revealed that people who scored high on a scale for problematic cell phone use were more likely to come from poor families, have a type A personality and had received their first cell phone at age 13 or younger. Not surprisingly, the researchers other finding was that, as cell phone addiction levels increase, sleep quality decreases.
Study Results: Are You Addicted to Your Cell Phone?
It’s important to note that Roberts’ study shows that, of the people who are “addicted” to their cell phones, most are primarily using them as a way to stay connected to other people. In a 2013 blog post for Psychology Today, psychology professor Ira Hyman, Ph.D., writes that researchers might be making a mountain out of a molehill; what they are observing is the rise of a new norm in social interaction, which is immediate, hyper-connected and here to stay.
“Feeling a need to be socially connected hardly seems like an addiction to me,” Hyman writes.
Are You Addicted to Your Cell Phone? If you’re experiencing a behavioral addiction, such as internet, gambling, or cell phone addiction, or a substance abuse disorder, such as drug addiction, help is available. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist. We’re here to answer your questions.
By Cheryl Steinberg
“It’s a fundamental need to have a good sense of self. Without it, people may become pathologically unhappy with themselves, and that can lead to some very serious problems.”
—John Taylor, FSU Department of Sociology
Drug Dependence Defined
The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the DSM) defines drug dependence as:
“someone who exhibits three or more symptoms, such as failing attempts to quit using drugs, giving up important activities like work, sports or seeing family or friends in order to get or use drugs, and using increasingly larger amounts of a chosen drug or for a greater period of time than intended when the drug use began.”
Study and Methods
FSU sociology professors John Taylor and Donald Lloyd, along with University of Miami professor emeritus George Warheit wanted to find out if – and to what extent – childhood low self-esteem can predict drug dependency later in life. They conducted a study, which was published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, of a multiethnic sample of 872 boys collected over a period of nine years.
Taylor says that, “Low self-esteem is kind of the spark plug for self-destructive behaviors, and drug use is one of these; it’s a fundamental need to have a good sense of self. Without it, people may become pathologically unhappy with themselves, and that can lead to some very serious problems.”
The professors found that low self-esteem, along with peer approval, meaning that if a child’s friends approve of drug use, are present at age 11, it can be predicted that that child will be drug dependent at age 20. Data were first gathered when the study’s subjects were in sixth or seventh grade, with three more interviews that were conducted over a nine-year period. A final follow-up interview was given when most of the participants were between 19 and 21 years old.
To test very low self-esteem, which the researchers refer to as ‘self-derogation,’ the participants – all boys – were asked to rate their belief in statements such as, “In general I feel I am a failure” and “I don’t like myself as much as I used to.” They were then asked to rate their friends’ level of approval toward people who smoked marijuana or cigarettes, drank alcohol, or used cocaine.
Childhood Low Self Esteem Can Predict Drug Dependency Later: Findings and Statistics
The researchers concluded that children (boys) with very low self-esteem (self-derogation) were 1.6 times more likely to meet the criteria for drug dependence by the end of the study, when they were nine years older, when compared to other children. Another major risk factor for developing drug dependence is that of early drug use, which the study’s researchers also gathered from their study.
Among early-start drug users, odds of drug dependence were 17.6 times greater than among those who had not tried drugs by the age of 13. That is, 37% of those who reported started using drugs by age 13 later met the criteria for drug dependence, which is staggering when compared to the only 3% who developed dependence but who had not tried drugs by 13.
By the time the study participants were 20 years old, nearly 64% had used drugs, and 10% of those drug users had developed a drug dependency as defined by the DSM.
Importance of the Study
A simple questionnaire such as the one used by the researchers in this study could help parents and teachers identify at-risk kids, says Taylor.
“The fact that you can identify a group of people who are at risk for problematic behaviors is very important,” Taylor said. “If you can intervene on a group of people before they begin drug use or embark on a cycle of addiction, that could have huge health benefits.”
An Important Note on Female Counterparts
It is worth noting that the researchers did not include female students in their study. Taylor cautioned against extrapolating the findings to girls. That’s because other studies have shown that low self-esteem in girls typically manifests itself in different ways when it comes to girls; depression and eating disorders are much more common than substance abuse.
If your child exhibits low self-esteem and you are concerned about possible substance abuse or eating disorder, don’t wait to get help. Substance abuse leads to drug dependence and addiction. Call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist. We can answer your questions and share our resources with you. You are not alone. We can help.
The fact I am writing this article is funny to say the least. I have been active in recovery and broke for some decent periods of time, and still work on developing new strategies for managing my finances the best I can. Recovery affects different people in different ways, especially when it comes to money. Some people find themselves able to fill a new type of job opportunity, advance quickly and make a little more money. Others stay humble and work a simple job (or 2), and a lot of us find new ways to handle the money we’re making. Some find that while clean and sober they are actually able to hold onto more of their money for the first time in a long time. Others find that they develop new spending habits that don’t exactly afford them much growth or stability.
I am very familiar with being clean, sober, and broke! I have worked 2 jobs for months to afford my rent and life-style, and I have worked 1 very simple job just stay humble, get by and focus on sobriety, and now I work a wonderful job and stay active in recovery and still find myself broke.
No joke I still have to remind myself of a few dangers of spending in sobriety. To manage your finances in sobriety you need to remember to focus on the necessities. You should do things like:
- Set goals- keep track of your progress
- Buy Groceries- learn to cook (still working on that)
- Cut back on expensive activities
Do NOT waste your money!
There are a lot of things that happen when we get sober. I can offer some good experience on what NOT to do (because I did it). One thing is we waste money on things that aren’t exactly going to help us in recovery or building a life we can manage. Sometimes we do deserve to give ourselves a gift, but we can also develop shopping and spending addictions. There are some strategies to avoid wasting money:
Don’t go too crazy with new Tattoos/Piercings…
I’m so guilty of this in my first few months it is not even funny. I spent a good $1,000 in one month alone after 2 out of treatment on new ink. I looked back after a month and realized I could have easily invested in so many things that would have contributed to my future instead. I love my ink no lie, but I’m reminded every time I ride the bus of the car I could have!
Don’t blow money on new clothes…
Clothes that we don’t need can be a way we treat ourselves and try to change our presentation, but when they are not necessary we should be able to step back and stay humble. Sure once you have changed as a person it’s nice to dress the part, but you have to change the behavior.
No need to stock-pile shoes…
Shoes are awesome! New Nike’s go a long way, but to say that building my collection of kicks is more important than paying my bills on time is no way to manage my finances.
Learn where to get cheap coffee…
Being young in recovery means (just taking a WILD guess) you’re probably well informed where the closest Starbucks or Duncan Donuts is, and the hours of operation. Sobriety makes some people, myself included, coffee snobs. Be sure you’re not spending too much on your intake. I know my Venti White-Mocha with 4 shots of expresso and whipped cream is a luxury, not a necessity…. well, sometimes.
Going out for dinner can eat up your wallet…
Eating out is another luxury we can afford to take advantage of sometimes. But before going to the fanciest place in town and buying the steak and lobster special 4 times a week, make sure that you’re taking care of your responsibilities at home. Maybe try that ‘cooking’ thing I keep hearing about.
Vapes and Vape Accessories…
The newest renovations in ‘vapor smoking technology’ are making a huge influence on our culture today, and people in recovery seem to love buying up ‘mods’ and ‘flavors’ to build their vape-game. No harm done, unless you have no money for food because you had to get that custom tank and new ‘Juicy-Fruit/Apple-Pie/Strawberry-Shortcake/Banana-Smoothie/Mucho-Menthol-’ mix.
Try not to chain-smoke cigarettes…
Smokers, don’t get me wrong I know it can be tough. When I first got sober I smoked much more than usual, the struggle is REAL! However, if you can consider the fact that a large chunk of you change is going to pay for that habit, it may be a way to help you get ahead of your finances if you try to cut back on cigarettes, or even switch to a cheaper brand.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135