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Friday, July 21, 2017

Less Addictive Prescription Opioids?

Nearly 20 years into a prescription opioid epidemic, it is fair to say that opioid painkillers are not going anywhere. At least anytime soon, that is. Try as one might to find an alternative form of pain management that does not carry the potential for abuse, few options are available. Drugs, such as Exparel have shown promise regarding post-surgery pain, but it is not widely used, yet. As far as the day to day chronic pain that millions of Americans suffer from, there just isn’t anything as effective as opioids, seemingly.

Nevertheless, the search must continue to find replacement pain therapies and to reduce the practice of over-prescribing these deadly narcotics. One need only look at the front pages of newspapers across the country to get an idea of the scope and scale of this epidemic. Hundreds of people die from overdose every week from prescription opioids prescribed for pain. Yet, doctors continue to prescribe, and in way they must. Patient pain, and the treatment of it is important. But, the cost of doing so is exceedingly great.

There are alternative forms of pain management, perhaps less effective but certainly not carrying the risk of overdose. Over the counter pain relievers can do more than most people think. Combine those with holistic approaches, like acupuncture and yoga, and good results can be achieved. Although, there will always be some people who will not respond to safer approaches. Reducing the need for opioids remains a serious challenge.

 

Less Addictive Opioids?


New research suggests that NKTR-181, by Nektar Therapeutics, may be a safer opioid for managing pain, according to a press release. NKTR-181 has a unique molecular structure, which patients may be less likely to abuse.

Unlike other opioids currently on the market for pain management, NKTR-181 may provide effective pain relief—without intense euphoria. Which might make users crave it less, mitigating the potential for addiction. The drug also acts on the brain slower than other opioids being prescribed today. The Food and Drug Administration has given NKTR-181 a fast-track designation.

"Getting very high, very fast, is a mark of conventional high-risk, abused opioids," said Jack Henningfield, PhD, vice president at Pinney Associates and adjunct professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "NKTR-181 represents a meaningful advance in the treatment of pain as the first opioid analgesic with inherent brain-entry kinetics that avoids this addictive quality of traditional opioids. This prevents the rapid 'rush' that abusers seek during the critical period immediately after dosing. Importantly, these properties of NKTR-181 are inherent to its molecular structure and are not changed through tampering or route of administration."

 

Prescription Opioid Addiction


So, if opioids are not going anywhere, less addictive and tamper resistant is a good start, at least. Opioid use disorder is major problem, and any effort to reduce the likelihood of addiction is paramount. In the meantime, pain patients should be leery about a doctor who is quick to resort to opioids before exhausting all other options.

If you have become addicted to your painkillers, please contact Celebrate Drug Rehab. We can help break the cycle of addiction and help you find ways to combat your pain without the use of opioids.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Prayer and Meditation In Addiction Recovery

prayer
Anyone who is new to recovery finds it difficult to take every suggestion given to them. After all, addicts and alcoholics can be stubborn to the bone. Even though their way didn’t work for them, one still wants to hold on to the illusion of control. The idea that, despite all the wrong turns leading up to recovery, we know what is best for us.

Resistance to suggestion can take a number of different forms. What one decides to heed or doesn't, varies from case to case. In early recovery there is a lot of information being bombarded from several directions, one may find it hard to act in accordance to what is suggested. Early on, some of the more common advice that is given that newcomers struggle to take without question, includes:
  • Get a sponsor, don’t put it off.
  • Staying away from romantic entanglements in the first year of recovery.
  • Go to 90 meetings in 90 days.
  • Pray and/or meditate daily.
  • Keep it simple…
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously, and any one of a number of platitudes.
All of which, believe it or not, may seem straightforward and easy to follow, but many in early recovery struggle with some of them. But, all of such advice is sage wisdom when it comes to staying clean and sober. For the purposes of this article, let’s focus on the suggestion to pray or meditate, daily.

 

Spirituality in Recovery


If you have been in the program for even a short time, then you are probably aware that ours is a spiritual program. One’s connection to a “higher power” of their own understanding is what holds a program together. Without something greater to be accountable to, we resume the comfortable position of thinking we are running the show. It’s probably been said to you by now that it doesn’t matter what your higher power is—as long as you have one.

Choosing something greater than yourself may come easier to you than keeping in constant contact with said higher power. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be hard to drown out the noise and connect with the spiritual. The suggestion to pray or meditate at the start or end of your day is a good one. When the outside world quiets down a bit, early in the morning or late at night, one is in a better position to connect. Better able to open oneself up to the sunshine of the spirit. If you are new, you may be adverse to “God,” or any ideas of omnipotence, for that matter. This is pretty normal. You may find it hard to get down on your knees and open your soul to the spiritual plane. That’s alright. Practice makes perfect.

Are you like the many who are new to the program, who feel a little goofy getting down on your knees and asking for guidance? Or perhaps you have trouble remembering to pray and meditate, after all, in early recovery we have busy lives to contend with. If you are one of those people, perhaps you would entertain another suggestion that might help. When you get ready for bed at the end of your day, put your shoes under the bed. When you wake, unless you are planning to walk around in your socks you will need those shoes. Voila! And there you find yourself already on your knees, open to the light of your higher power. It might sound corny, but it works.

 

Prayer In Addiction


It is not uncommon for people who are still struggling with substances to pray for a way out of the despair. Some of us, after all, grew up with spirituality in our live. Despite the fact that the drugs and alcohol make us deaf to the spirit, we still send out prayerful signals hoping for a response. If you have been praying to change, that is great and change is possible. But it will require something from you, first. Picking up the phone. If you would like to be free from the bondage of self, and break the chains of your addiction, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Symptoms of Alcohol Use Disorder

alcohol use disorder
Do you drink regularly? If so, it may not be cause for concern. Millions of Americans imbibe on regular basis, the majority of whom will never develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD). But that does not mean that there aren't inherent risks to regularly consuming alcohol, or that you will not develop a problem with the world’s most used mind-altering substance. What’s more, the majority of people with an alcohol use disorder may not even be aware that they have a problem.

If you are a regular drinker, and are unsure if there is a problem that needs to be addressed, it might be worth looking into. AUDs that are left untreated can cause a host of medical problems and increase the risk of premature death. One way to assess if you have a problem is to talk to your primary care physician. They can shed light on the subject. Doing so could lead to addiction treatment, and in turn greatly improve the quality of your life. If you have an inkling that your drinking is problematic, please do not hesitate.

Furthermore, it is never wise to gauge the severity of your drinking by comparing yourself to your peers. Their drinking is not relevant to your situation. Every one of us is different. Drinking may not affect your peers' lives in the negative ways it affects your own. It is quite common for people to continue fueling the fire of an alcohol use disorder because they think they do not have a problem based on how their friends drink. It is worth remembering that perceptions are not fact.

 

The Criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder


When diagnosing any health disorder, certain criteria must be met. Whether it is diabetes or depression. One should see a specialist to identify a problem, which is always advised. But you can also utilize resources from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V). Currently, there are eleven symptoms of alcohol use disorder, which include:
  1. Alcohol is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use.
  3. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain alcohol, use alcohol, or recover from its effects.
  4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use alcohol.
  5. Recurrent alcohol use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  6. Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of alcohol.
  7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol use.
  8. Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
  9. Alcohol use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by alcohol.
  10. Tolerance, as defined by either of the following: a) A need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect b) A markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.
  11. Withdrawal, as manifested by either of the following: a) The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol (refer to criteria A and B of the criteria set for alcohol withdrawal) b) Alcohol (or a closely related substance, such as a benzodiazepine) is taken to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.

AUD Severity and Treatment


If you met two of the symptoms criteria, then you meet the criteria for AUD. Depending on how many of the eleven that you meet, will determine the severity of the disorder.
  • Mild: The presence of 2 to 3 symptoms.
  • Moderate: The presence of 4 to 5 symptoms.
  • Severe: The presence of 6 or more symptoms.
So now what? If you meet the criteria for a mild AUD, it may possible to start the process of recovery in the rooms of 12-Step programs or SMART Recovery. For those who have over four symptoms, it is likely that more help assistance initially will be required. At Celebrate Hope, we can help you detox from alcohol and get you started on the road to recovery. Our trained professionals can give your tools and skills for avoiding relapse and achieving long-term recovery. Please contact us today, recovery is possible.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Recovery Tips For The Fourth

recovery
It’s safe to say that when it comes to holidays, Southern California goes above and beyond the call of duty. On Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, for instance, it is not uncommon for the police to close major streets from 10:30 a.m. on July 4th to approximately 3 a.m. on July 5th. The hope is to prevent people from driving under the influence. The amount of heavy alcohol use that occurs on in Orange County on the Fourth is absolutely mind boggling.

As you can probably imagine, with so many parties taking place along the coast, it can be a real challenge for those working a program of recovery. However, the Fourth of July can be a challenge for anyone in recovery no matter where you live. It is absolutely paramount that all our readers in the program take certain steps to safeguard their recovery during the long weekend. Failure to do so could result in a relapse, or worse.

While the holiday is on Tuesday, you can trust that people will begin celebrating, around the country, tonight. It is rare that Americans get a four-day weekend, and it will surely be taken advantage of to the nth degree. So, with that in mind, do you have a plan for keeping your recovery intact for the next 4 days? If not, here are some friendly reminders.

 

Planning for Every Eventuality


It should go without saying that getting to at least one meeting a day is a must. Thinking that holidays justify a break from meetings is a slippery slope. Treat the next several days the same way you would every day of the year in recovery. Given that it is likely you will be exposed to some people’s drunkenness and debauchery, being totally grounded is invaluable. Going to meetings will help you remain centered and focused. Being able to keep your eye on the prize of recovery.

If any of your peers in recovery are hosting gatherings, such as a barbecue, during the holiday—make a point of attending. You may find yourself wanting to isolate over the long weekend, please do not act on this urge. Being by yourself means that you are inside your own head, which usually isn’t the safest place to be. Especially during a holiday, when the temptation to drink is often stronger than normal. Getting out of the house, and engaging with your peers in recovery is that best thing you can do. It can also be a lot of fun.

Are you new to the program? If so, stay close to where you go to meetings. Keep your phone charged and don’t hesitate to call someone else in the program, even if you are not feeling tempted. And remember, you can never go to too many meetings in early recovery. On Tuesday, there will be meetings going on around the clock. It is not uncommon for people to go to several during a holiday. We at Celebrate Hope would like to wish everyone a safe holiday. Please do not pick up a drink or drug, no matter what—it’s not worth it.

 

Breaking The Cycle of Addiction


If you are still in the active cycle of addiction, maybe this Independence Day is a good time to make the decision to seek help. Freedom from addiction is not only possible, it is necessary. We can help you start the life-saving process of recovery. Please contact us today.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fewer Teens Using Tobacco Products

tobacco
“Gateway drug” is a term that many young people are familiar with in the United States. In elementary school and beyond, by way of programs like DARE, kids are cautioned about staying away from drugs and alcohol. With good intentions to be sure. However, marijuana is often talked about in the context of being a gateway drug that will lead to the use of other, more dangerous drugs.

In some cases that is true. Teenagers who use marijuana in high school are far more likely to try, experiment or abuse harder substances. Yet, research over the past few years has shown that alcohol and tobacco is the true gateway drug for young people. So, with that in mind, it makes sense that prevention efforts be focused more on the two legal substances, before addressing marijuana.

It is worth noting that fewer Americans, regardless of age group are smoking cigarettes than in decades past. But, a significant number of young people are still smoking either traditional tobacco products or e-cigarettes. We have written in the past about concerns over young people using e-cigs, many high schoolers now prefer them over normal nicotine delivery systems. A number people close to the field of addiction, expressed concerns about nicotine initiation via e-cigarettes. Fearing that it would start people who would never have tried regular tobacco on a slippery slope to addiction.

 

Good News On Tobacco


New research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, shows that fewer teenagers are smoking e-cigarettes or using other tobacco products, The Washington Post reports. The study showed that in the past year 11.3 percent of high school students engaged in e-cigarette use, compared to 16 percent in 2015. The data can be viewed on the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Regarding e-cigarettes that is good news, but the highlight of the report is with regard to traditional tobacco products. The study showed the lowest numbers on record for high school students using any type of tobacco product, according to the article. With 8 percent reporting smoking cigarettes in the past year and 20 percent using any form of nicotine product. Including:
  • Cigarettes
  • E-cigarettes
  • Cigars
  • Hookahs
  • Pipes
  • Smokeless Tobacco

 

Young Adults Smoking


People who smoke cigarettes or use nicotine products in high school are far more likely to drink alcohol or use other drugs. Which is why it is so important that the rate of tobacco use continues to decline. Teenagers who abuse substances in high school often end up abusing in young adulthood. It can be a sign that addiction has developed and it is vital that intervention occurs before the problem gets worse.

If your young adult child has been abusing drugs and/or alcohol, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea. Our highly-trained staff can help break the cycle of addiction and get them on the road to recovery. The sooner recovery starts, the better.

Friday, June 16, 2017

1 Million Heroin Users in America

 heroin
Grim news was printed this week, courtesy of The New York Times. And, once again opioids are at the center of the discussion. Preliminary data compiled by the newspaper indicates that drug overdose deaths in America probably exceeded 59,000 last year. Unless something drastic is done soon, this is a trend that will likely continue in the coming years.

People are dying. Opioid use disorder, or opioid addiction is the root of the problem. Yet, in 2017, nearly twenty years into the 21st Century, millions of Americans still struggle to access addiction treatment services. Even when they want help. In rural America, the closest addiction treatment center is sometimes hundreds of miles away. Given that fact that many opioid addicts are at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale, the likelihood of traveling such distances for help is slim to none.

In addition to a lack of treatment options, many addicts still have hard time getting naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug that has saved thousands of American lives, and will continue to do so. But, getting the drug without a prescription is still not possible in certain places. Even if one can acquire it, affording the medicine is a whole different story. Perhaps you've heard the news about ever-increasing naloxone prices. Wherever you find demand, you find greed.

 

An Epidemic That Costs Billions


Prescription opioids are still a problem, to be sure. Yet, heroin use has steadily increased in recent years. What’s more, the mixing of heroin and fentanyl has become a common occurrence. Users who don’t know their heroin was mixed with the deadly painkiller are at great risk of overdose death. There are an estimated 1 million people actively using heroin in America today, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago press release. All told, heroin use in the United States costs society $51 billion in 2015. The costs are tied to:
  • Addiction Treatment
  • Heroin-related Crime
  • Imprisonment
  • Treating Chronic Infectious Diseases
  • Treating Newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
  • Overdose Deaths
  • Lost Job Productivity
“The downstream effects of heroin use, such as the spread of infectious diseases and increased incarceration due to actions associated with heroin use, compounded by their associated costs, would continue to increase the societal burden of heroin use disorder,” said UIC pharmacoeconomists, Simon Pickard.

 

The Greatest Cost Is Life


Loss of productivity pales in comparison to the staggering death toll that could be reduced by increasing access to addiction treatment services. The longer one goes without treatment, the greater the chance of an overdose. If you are struggling with addiction to any form of opioids, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea today.

Our highly-trained staff specializes in the treatment of opioid use disorder. The opioid addiction epidemic is the most serious drug crisis the world has ever seen, and putting an end to it starts with treatment.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Recovery: You Have A Lot to Be Grateful For

recovery
Are you working a program of recovery? Or maybe you are in treatment, one that allows you access to the internet? Either way, you have a lot to be grateful for, and our hope is that you know the importance of your decision to find recovery. You know what it was like out there. Lying and manipulation is the code of the active addict and alcoholic—burning every bridge like it was built for the sole purpose of destruction. And in the end, one finds oneself in relative solitude, without anything worth smiling about. Recovery, of course, it the complete opposite.

Whether you are in treatment or have completed a program and are now working a program via the 12-Steps or Smart Recovery, you know that the place you find yourself in today is far safer than where you were before. To be sure, recovery is hard work, but one could easily make the case that maintaining an addiction is much harder. Consider the constant effort required to keep from withdrawal or the radar of the law is arduous. It is hard to sleep soundly when you are always having to cover your tracks, and keep the drinking or drugging pumps primed.

With that in mind, recovery then is a breath of fresh air, and one should never hesitate to take a moment to remember everything they have to be grateful for, today. Even when you don’t feel like you have much, you might surprise yourself.

 

Gratitude


If you are new to the program, you may be reading this and are thinking that you don’t have much for which to be thankful. But, consider the fact that you are reading this sober and have begun to develop relationships with others who share a common goal of recovery: People who will have your back and provide you support for little but honesty in return, and to whom you reach out your hand to when they are in need.

That’s what makes the program so special, perfect strangers willing to drop everything to come to the aid of a fellow alcoholic or addict. None of your using buddies could be counted on in such a way. Which is why one could be family-less, homeless, jobless and car-less, yet still have something to be grateful about. Even having the hope or belief that one day continued spiritual maintenance will result in one getting some of the aforementioned things back in their life—is something to cherish. In active addiction, hope turned its back on you years ago.

Perhaps by now you have started working with a sponsor. Maybe you are trudging through the steps as we speak? Working towards the goal of long-term recovery is something worth taking stock of on a daily basis. At Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea, our team’s wish is for you to never discount the importance of what you are working towards. We know the dedication it takes, and in time it will seem like everything is working against you. But if you stay the course, your list of things for which to be grateful will only grow.

 

Need Help With Addiction


If you are still in the grips of your disease, it is vital that you seek help immediately. Drug and alcohol abuse, left unchecked, has only a few logical ends. Jails, institutions or death. None of which are promising. Please contact Celebrate Hope today, to begin the journey.
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