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Thursday, February 11, 2021

The Healing Power of Faith | Addiction and Faith-Based Recovery

healing power of faith

As the challenges of drug and alcohol addiction continue in the US, there is hope. Individuals who recognize they need help and seek treatment can enjoy a successful recovery from their addictive behaviors. The healing power of faith has been shown to be a significant factor in recovery from addiction. Faith-based recovery can mean the difference for your health and your life.

The Substance Abuse Crisis

In the US, more than 20 million people over the age of 12 have a substance use disorder. Of those, at least 2 million have an opioid use disorder, including those who use or abuse prescription pain relievers. The CDC estimates that 88,000 people die each year from alcohol-related causes, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the country. in addition, suicide contributes to the death rates of those struggling with a substance use disorder.

Impact of Faith on Healing

Multiple evidence-based research studies confirm the positive impact of an individual’s faith on their health and well-being. Among individuals who are suffering from substance abuse issues, their addiction and faith-based recovery clearly demonstrate the healing power of faith.

The research has found that spiritual support and religious involvement can be integral to an individual’s ability to deal with substance abuse. In one study, 84% of clients in addiction counseling expressed a desire for a greater emphasis on spirituality in their treatment program. Faith not only helps in treatment, but people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol have shown a lower risk of relapse in recovery when they are involved in spiritual programs that encourage fellowship.

A person’s effective use of the spiritual resources from their faith tradition, known as positive religious coping, has been determined to contribute to more positive substance abuse recovery outcomes. One study followed addiction treatment participants who had been addicted to alcohol. During a period ranging from two weeks to six months after enrolling in the program, the participants who relied on their faith to help them cope were less likely to be tempted to drink than those who had no such beliefs.

In addition, positive religious coping has been found to be effective when an individual is dealing with opioid dependence, which is an addiction with high rates of relapse. A research study found that increased positive religious coping was associated with less frequent opioid use and more frequent 12-step participation, which further reinforced the desire to stay in recovery and to stay sober.

Faith-Based Social Support

The Department of Health and Human Services for Mental Health and Substance Use has outlined the steps necessary to combat and treat substance use disorders, including clinical care, social intervention, and social support. Faith-based communities and organizations play a large and impactful role in the necessary social intervention and support for individuals recovering from an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Part of their effectiveness lies in their ability to reach beyond the individual and engage the family and the community in the recovery process.

Sustained Abstinence in Recovery

Yet another study points to the fact that religious and spiritual beliefs and practices lead to lower levels of substance abuse in individuals. In fact, almost 82% of the clients who experienced a spiritual awakening during their substance abuse treatment and recovery were completely abstinent one year after completing treatment, as compared with 55% of those clients who were not spiritually awakened.

Substance Abuse Prevention Impact

In addition to the healing power of faith, it has been determined that faith can actually protect individuals against developing a substance abuse issue. In a study of over 11,000 adult women, significant reductions in alcohol and drug use by more religiously active women were found.

A separate research project showed that both men and women who use prescription opioids and who are rooted in their faith are less likely to engage in use of multiple medications or to use medications in combination with alcohol. Of those who participate actively in their faith, such as attending religious services regularly, a reduced rate of alcoholism and an increase in subjective well-being has been discovered.

California Faith-Based Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one struggles with a substance use disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope to learn more about our faith-based addiction treatment program. Our team helps men and women break the cycle of addiction and begin anew. We rely on the teachings of Jesus Christ, along with evidence-based therapies to get individuals on the path of recovery.

Friday, January 29, 2021

How to Stay Sober During Times of Crisis | COVID-19

stay sober during COVID-19 crisis

The past several months have been challenging for just about everyone. If you are struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, you are not alone. As someone in recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you may be facing additional issues in dealing with the stress. There are many ways to stay sober during times of crisis, though, even during the very trying era of COVID-19.

Don’t Use the Crisis as an Excuse

The isolation and restrictions that have been put in place as a result of COVID-19 have caused many people to change their lifestyles and their work habits. Some have found that they are gaining weight as a result of having to stay home and some are drinking more, as evidenced by the increase in alcohol sales.

However, when you are in recovery from an addiction to alcohol, you cannot use the crisis as an excuse to drink again. There are more positive steps you can take to not only stay sober during times of crisis, but to stay strong in your resolve to continue your recovery. 

Attend a Virtual Meeting

While you may not have the option to attend an in-person support group near you during COVID-19, many organizations have put their meetings online. You need this support more than ever now, to maintain your sobriety, so check out options that allow you to participate virtually. The new platform actually enables you to attend support groups that are not in your area, so you will also have the opportunity to meet some new people who are going through the same challenges.

Focus on Positive Possibilities

As one addict in recovery put it, “People need to sit down in a chair and quietly think, ‘What do I believe?’ Get to the root cause (of addiction) and give yourself a break. Try to come up with some answers for yourself. What’s the point of being sober? It’s about purpose and usefulness and being able to sit with all this. Why don’t you use the time to reconnect with the people who mean something to you?”

Stay focused on your recovery goals. Look toward the future of positive possibilities. Reach out to those people in your life who have been positive in their support and talk with them about what you are going through. They will appreciate the opportunity to speak with you again too!

You might even want to try a new hobby or a new project to help you stay sober during times of crisis, especially during COVID-19. A new exercise routine can be a great way to help you feel better, physically and mentally. Exercise releases brain chemicals called endorphins, which are designed to make you feel good. 

Find Healthy Ways to Manage the Stress

When you get stressed, you may find that you have an urge to drink again. First you will need to manage your urge, which typically lasts about 15 to 30 minutes. You can try chewing gum as a substitute or repeat a personal mantra to strengthen your resistance, such as “I am stronger than this, and it will pass.”

This would be a good time to start a journal too. When you feel stressed and have the urge to drink, take out your journal and write down your thoughts. Be sure to also write about the things that bring you happiness, the things that you are grateful for, and then take the time later to review what you’ve written, to remind yourself about the good things in your life.

Spend some time in prayer and meditation to help you stay sober during times of crisis. Meditation can help you relax as you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process can help enhance your physical and emotional well-being. As described in Step Eleven of the 12-Step Program, “when we turn away from meditation and prayer, we likewise deprive our minds, our emotions, and our intuitions of vitally needed support.”

Stay Sober with Faith-Based Addiction Treatment

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stressful crisis and many people have turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. However, there is another way. Please contact Celebrate Hope if you are struggling with addiction. We are available around the clock to answer any questions you may have. Our team relies on evidence-based therapies along with the teachings of Jesus Christ to help men and women achieve long-term recovery.

Friday, January 15, 2021

How to Stage an Intervention for a High-Functioning Alcoholic

stage an intervention for a high-functioning alcoholic

In America, our society has created many stereotypes about alcoholism. Movies, TV shows, and even cartoons depict people with this substance use disorder as chaotic, struggling, and stumbling. In reality, an alcoholic may look very different.

Most people who struggle to control their drinking seem entirely normal. To confirm this, we need look no further than the current statistics: today, thirty percent of U.S. adults are estimated to have a problem with alcohol. These individuals are going to work, raising families, and navigating relationships just like the rest of us – however, they still need help. Today, we’ll guide you through the process of staging an intervention for a high-functioning alcoholic. 

What is a High-Functioning Alcoholic?

Alcohol is the most widely used (and abused) mind-altering substance around the world. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (also called the NIAAA), in a given year, over 26% of U.S. adults reported binge drinking at least once per month. Binge drinking is just one subtype of problem drinking: a pattern of addictive behavior that can lead to a substance use disorder. The more a person binge drinks or drinks heavily, the more likely they are to develop a problem – even if they seem completely fine on the surface.

Like all disorders, addiction exists on a spectrum. This chronic, progressive disease tends to get worse over time. When a person has developed a dependence on alcohol but is still able to function in daily life, he is considered a high-functioning alcoholic.

Functioning alcoholics battle constant cravings, problem drinking, or heavy drinking, but still manage to get through their day-to-day tasks. They maintain employment, complete school, and have fulfilling relationships. However, despite their outward appearance, they do not “have it all together.” Someone in this situation is often entrenched in deep denial about their problem. Until they experience some sort of breaking point – a DUI, health issue, or job loss – they are unlikely to seek help on their own.

Look for the Signs

Before you decide to stage an intervention, we encourage you to evaluate your loved one for the telltale signs of high-functioning alcoholism. While they may not display all the clinical criteria for a substance use disorder, many early symptoms may still be present. If any of these bulleted items remind you of your friend or family member, it’s time to take the next step.

Early signs of alcoholism include…

  • Difficulty controlling their drinking
  • High tolerance for alcohol (being able to drink a lot at one time)
  • Saying they will stop drinking (and being unable to do so)
  • Always wanting to go out or drink while staying in
  • Behaving very differently while intoxicated
  • Drinking at inappropriate times
  • Changes to mood, attitude, or speech
  • Regularly blacking out
  • Changes to eating or sleeping patterns
  • Using alcohol to unwind or reward themselves
  • Calling in sick or skipping social events
  • Drinking to build confidence in social settings
  • Joking about a potential drinking problem
  • Hiding alcohol or otherwise concealing how much they drink

Don’t Wait for Rock Bottom

You may be familiar with the old adage that you should let an alcoholic “hit rock bottom” before seeking help. In reality, we are called to help people well before this point. If you see someone beginning to struggle, do not wait until things get worse. Treatment is often most effective when obtained early in the cycle of addiction.

Staging an Intervention

Because a person in the early stages of alcoholism tends to hide their problem (and exist in a state of denial), it is important for loved ones to intervene. This process can be uncomfortable, but it is incredibly valuable and can even save a life.

First, speak with the rest of the family and decide who you would like to be a part of the intervention. While some people may be close to your loved one, those who will cast blame or react dramatically should be excluded from this occasion. Ensure that everyone involved knows that the tone of the conversation should be concerned and not explosive.

Next, plan what you will say and how it will be said. Each person should get a turn to speak, but try to keep everyone’s contributions relatively short. Interventions should not drag on for hours; the goal is to inspire your loved one to address their problem immediately.

After you have practiced, choose a time and date to stage the intervention. Be sure to pick a time when your loved one is sober; early morning is usually best. In the time before the conversation takes place, research treatment centers, iron out your financial options, and speak with admissions professionals from each facility. This will ensure that you have a plan for what your family member will do afterwards.

Finally, it’s time to intervene. As we’ve stated, a high-functioning alcoholic may be in deep denial about their problem. Don’t be upset if you have to repeat your concerns, or if things don’t go exactly according to the schedule you made. Instead, stay flexible and help everyone to list their grievances and provide the ultimatum. You can then help them to get to treatment.

While many interventions are successful, other people require multiple conversations before they finally agree to get help. Regardless of the outcome, set boundaries and support your loved one. Your continued involvement in their lives can guide them to treatment at another point in the future.

Christian Addiction Treatment for Alcoholism

At Celebrate Hope, our team of addiction specialists is prepared to help your family to walk with Christ and find recovery along the way. Through a combination of cutting-edge treatments and Biblically rooted counseling, we have helped hundreds of people to break the cycle of addiction. Please contact us today for more information about our faith-based treatment programs for alcoholism

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Your Recovery This Christmas and Beyond

The most wonderful time of the year can be the most challenging time of the year for men and women in recovery. Christmas and New Year’s Eve are just around the corner, and it’s essential that you start marking a plan for navigating the holidays. You must do everything in your power to stay on track and avoid relapse. 


Holidays can be particularly challenging to manage for individuals in early recovery. Those who do not have experience coping with the emotions and stress that accompany Christmastime should defer to their peers for guidance. Others who have experience with such matters can help you make sound decisions that will protect your recovery. 


It’s vital not to leave anything to chance; have a plan and stick to a schedule. While many of you will probably be spending the holiday alone or in the company of a small number of people, it’s still possible to run into hiccups. If you know that you will be around drinking, please be sure to have an escape plan if you find yourself craving. 


Depending on where you live, it may be possible to attend meetings in person during the coming holidays. If you live somewhere heavily impacted by COVID-19, you may have to attend 12 Step meetings virtually. Whichever is the case, be sure to participate in at least one meeting this Christmas and New Year’s Eve. 


Remember, your recovery must come first, no matter what. If you find yourself putting something before your program, the correct course immediately. Those who stay in regular contact with their support network will find that it’s much easier to navigate significant days of the year. The Fellowship is always a phone call away; pick up the phone if you run into problems. 


Recovery in 2021


During this time, most people start thinking about what they would like to accomplish in the year ahead. For those in recovery, it’s critical to set your sights on achieving realistic and manageable goals. If you are in your first year, a resolution could be as simple as doing everything in your power to get one year clean and sober. 


If you are a fixture in the rooms of recovery and have some time under your belt, you may want to start thinking about some long-term goals. Perhaps you’d like to go back to school or finish college. If you are putting your recovery first, you can achieve anything you put your mind to and excel. Many people in recovery have earned college degrees. 


Men and women who are still in the clutches of addiction might want 2021 to be the year they get clean and sober. There is no time like the present. Addiction treatment centers are essential businesses and continue to provide life-saving care to those in need. Now is an excellent opportunity to research the kind of treatment you are looking for; there are many different programs and services—gender-specific or faith-based


You may have heard that 12 Step recovery is a spiritual program. Many people who start down the road of recovery have a history with organized religion, and they are already familiar with their higher-power. Working a program of recovery is an opportunity to reconnect with God. 


California Faith-Based Addiction Treatment


At Celebrate Hope, our addiction specialists provide comprehensive, cutting edge treatment and Christian counseling. We help our clients find hope and purpose as they begin a new relationship with their higher power, Jesus Christ. Please contact us today to make 2021 the year you find recovery.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Opioid Addiction Epidemic Lawsuits Pile Up

opioid addiction epidemic
Thanksgiving is now behind us, and we hope you made it through the holiday drug and alcohol-free. At Celebrate Hope, we understand how challenging it is to navigate holidays in recovery. Every holiday celebrated clean and sober is a remarkable accomplishment worth acknowledging. 


We wanted to take a moment to follow up on a previous story covered recently on our blog regarding Purdue Pharma—the maker of OxyContin. As we shared in an article last month, Purdue agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges regarding its role in the American opioid addiction epidemic. As part of the settlement with the Justice Department, the pharmaceutical giant also agreed to face penalties of about $8.3 billion. 


Purdue pleaded guilty to the criminal charges two days before Thanksgiving, The New York Times reports. During the November 24th hearing, Purdue admitted to misleading the federal government about OxyContin sales. 


Purdue’s chairman, Steve Miller, conceded that the company was marketing the potent narcotic to over 100 physicians suspected of illegally prescribing the drug. What’s more, Purdue pleaded guilty to paying doctors illegal kickbacks for prescribing OxyContin. Thus concludes the federal government’s case against the pharmaceutical company.  

“The abuse and diversion of prescription opioids has contributed to a national tragedy of addiction and deaths,” said Jeffrey A. Rosen, the deputy attorney general. “Today’s convictions underscore the department’s commitment to its multipronged strategy for defeating the opioid crisis.” 


We want to remind our readers that there are thousands of pending lawsuits against Purdue. Purdue’s guilty plea does not shield the company from the suits brought by state and local governments. Moreover, Purdue is just one company that contributed to the opioid epidemic; many companies had a hand in the more than 450,000 American deaths since 1999. 


Many Players Involved in the Opioid Addiction Epidemic


Just as Purdue turned a blind eye to the devastation caused by OxyContin, so too did other narcotic makers and the companies that distribute such drugs. Pharmacies and the companies that distribute to them are also facing thousands of lawsuits. 


Johnson & Johnson and three drug distributors are hashing out a $26 billion deal with state and local governments for their hand in the opioid addiction epidemic, according to The New York Times. The distributors involved in the negotiations are McKesson, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen. If an agreement is reached, it will shield the four companies from future lawsuits by these governments. 


Prescription opioids had a hand in more than 232,000 American deaths from 1999 to 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than three-quarters of the nation’s opioids shipped to pharmacies came from the three distributors listed above, the article reports. If approved by the governments involved in the lawsuits, most of the $26 billion would go towards treatment and prevention in areas severely impacted by opioids. 


“The deal gets money to all of the communities in the United States that are suffering from insult upon injury, first from the opioid epidemic and now with COVID as well,” said Paul J. Hanly Jr., an attorney who represents numerous small governments. “We believe it’s in the best interest of these communities to begin receiving a payment stream. We looked at the finances of these companies and believe the numbers are now appropriate.”


California Faith-Based Addiction Treatment


If you or a loved one struggles with opioid use disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope to learn more about our faith-based addiction treatment program. Our team helps men and women break the cycle of addiction and begin anew. We rely on the teachings of Jesus Christ, along with evidence-based therapies to get individuals on the path of recovery.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Navigating Thanksgiving in Isolation

Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and it looks like it could be a more challenging holiday than usual for people in recovery. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that Americans avoid flying. California’s governor has issued a temporary curfew that stops gatherings and non-essential work between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. throughout most of the state. 


If you have been following the news, then you know that the spread of coronavirus is rampant right now. Nearly 2,000 Americans died from COVID-19 yesterday and there were close to 200,000 new cases. The risks of contracting the virus are extremely high right now, which means Thanksgiving gatherings could be dangerous. 


Holidays are always trying times for people in recovery. Having to spend time around others who are drinking can be extremely difficult, especially in early recovery. What’s more, many people new to working a program are estranged from their families. Normally, such individuals would get together with other people in recovery to keep their recovery intact. 


This year, it may not be possible for people in recovery to join forces in-person to navigate Thanksgiving. Moreover, isolation isn’t good for one’s recovery. Members of the fellowship will have to be particularly vigilant next Thursday. 


A Different Kind of Thanksgiving in Recovery


If you are unable to get together with family or members of a support group next week, do not be discouraged. You may feel like you are alone, but millions of other people in recovery are facing the same obstacle. 


Computers and smartphones will be vital tools in the coming days. Utilize video conferencing platforms to connect with others in recovery. You can find thousands of meetings each day online. If you are alone this Thanksgiving, then attend several meetings from your home. Share about your struggles or what you are grateful for today, thanks to recovery. 


Prayer and meditation will be vital as well; you may need to utilize such practices many times next Thursday. You can also benefit from journaling and writing gratitude lists to clear your mind and ground yourself. Thinking about what you are grateful for is highly beneficial. 


Talk to your support network, maybe there are virtual Thanksgiving events you can attend. Just because you are not with others doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the holiday. It’s important to remember to give thanks; that’s what Thanksgiving is all about. Men and women in recovery have so much to be thankful for today. Every day clean and sober is a blessing. 


Pick up the phone if you find yourself wanting to drink or drug and connect with your support network. You are not alone, and you have the power to abstain during this likely challenging holiday. Reaching out for support will help you prevent relapse and protect your progress. 


Faith-Based Addiction Treatment


2020 has been an arduous year and many people have turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. However, there is another way. Please contact Celebrate Hope if you are struggling with addiction. We are available around the clock to answer any questions you may have. Our team relies on evidence-based therapies along with the teachings of Jesus Christ to help men and women achieve long-term recovery.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

OxyContin and Opioid Epidemic Settlement

opioid addiction
When discussing the American opioid addiction epidemic, the name OxyContin is synonymous. The brand name of oxycodone, a powerful prescription opioid, is closely associated with our toxic relationship with painkillers in the United States. 


Even people who've never been prescribed an opioid are familiar with OxyContin. The drug was prescribed by doctors in large amounts from the mid-nineties onward. The drugmaker – Purdue Pharma – marketed OxyContin as safe for users; the company contended that it carried a low risk of addiction. 


Now 25 years later and tens of thousands of overdose deaths, OxyContin is anything but safe when prescribed in high doses for protracted periods. What's more, most of today's heroin users were introduced to opioids via drugs like oxycodone. Around 80 percent of people using heroin started down the path of opioid use disorder with prescription painkillers. 


In recent years, the prescription drug industry or "big pharma" has been asked to account for its role in creating the public health crisis we face today. From doctors to drug distributors to the makers of the drugs themselves, many entities are in the hot seat for the more than 450,000 Americans who have died from an overdose since 1999. 


While heroin and illicit fentanyl – a drug 100 times more potent than morphine – dominate the headlines today, the epidemic's origin goes back to rampant overprescribing dating back to the 1990s. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many doctors continue to prescribe high doses of oxycodone across the country more than two decades later. 


In 2017, there were still almost 58 opioid prescriptions written for every 100 Americans; more than 17% of Americans had at least one opioid medication filled. More than 191 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed to Americans that year. 


OxyContin Maker Held Accountable


Last month, the U.S Justice Department and Purdue Pharma agreed regarding its role in the opioid epidemic. The pharmaceutical giant agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and face penalties of around $8.3 billion, The New York Times reports. Members of the Sackler family – the owners of Purdue Pharma – agreed to pay $225 million in civil penalties. 


Purdue will plead guilty to felony charges of defrauding federal health agencies and violating anti-kickback laws, according to the article. The company will be ordered to pay $3.54 billion in criminal fines, $2.8 billion in civil penalties for violating the False Claims Act, and $2 billion in criminal forfeiture of profits. 


It's worth noting that there are thousands of pending lawsuits against Purdue Pharma. The agreement with the justice department could pave the way to a resolution in many of those cases. Steve Miller, chairman of the company board, said: 


"Purdue deeply regrets and accepts responsibility for the misconduct detailed by the Department of Justice in the agreed statement of facts." 


While more than $8 billion is a lot of money, there is little indication that the company will pay anything close to that because it filed for bankruptcy court protection when the lawsuits started piling up. What's more, there are some who feel that the agreement does not go far enough even though it did not preclude the filing of criminal charges against Purdue executives or members of the Sackler family. Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general, said: 


"The D.O.J. failed. Justice in this case requires exposing the truth and holding the perpetrators accountable, not rushing a settlement to beat an election. I am not done with Purdue and the Sacklers, and I will never sell out the families who have been calling for justice for so long." 


Massachusetts is moving forward with depositions against the Sacklers this month. It will be interesting to see how the cases against Purdue Pharma plays out. It could set a precedent; it is not the only company facing lawsuits for impropriety related to prescription opioids. 


Opioid Use Disorder Treatment


Please reach out to Celebrate Hope if you are struggling with prescription opioid or heroin addiction. We can help you break the cycle of addiction and get on the path toward healing. Opioid use disorder is treatable and recovery is possible

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