Narconon - Drug Addiction & Recovery Blog Latest Information and Trends - Addiction, Abuse and Recovery Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:50:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 10 Tips for Starting New After Addiction Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:50:19 +0000 new start clockGetting sober is hard enough, but making a fresh start in life is in many ways an even more difficult task. Initially, you have to get through the symptoms of withdrawal and conquer the cravings that you feel for another drink or more drugs. Stepping back into the workaday world and resuming a normal lifestyle after spending years as an addict has been compared to coming out of a cave, and it is a process of transition which requires several steps, changes and resolutions to really pull off. If you have recently gotten sober, or are working on your recovery, and want to make sure that you are able to make things go right in your time after rehab, here are ten actions you can take to improve your chances of success:

Slow and Steady

It very often happens that a person who has recently recovered from addiction assumes that he or she is ready to charge back out into the world and take life by the horns, only to fall flat on his or her face. You may feel great, reinvigorated and recharged, and you should absolutely live life to its fullest now; but don’t take on more than you can handle yet. The pace of life is likely to be quite different now, and it is very well worth it to take some time readjusting.

Making Up Damage

There is a good chance that you did things to other people — or failed to do things that you should have — while you were an addict, and that these actions or omissions caused a certain amount of upset or animosity. However happy your loved ones may be to have you back sober and healthy, realize that as time goes on you might start to see the influence of old wounds in their behavior towards you. As soon as possible, find a way to repair any damage that you may have done and go above and beyond to make things right.

Find Out What Is Expected of You

Another step that you should take in regards to your relationships with family and friends is to speak with them and find out what they expect you to do, how they hope that you will behave in dealing with them, and what they need from you. If, for example, you got started drinking or using drugs as a teenager, and you are now in your late 20’s or early 30’s, life is very different now from how it was when you were last sober and a functioning member of the family, so it’s time to establish the roles and expectation in those relationships. This discussion is not only for your sake. They have gotten used to seeing you as an addict, and have grown accustomed to thinking of you within that framework and will have a tendency to keep acting towards you that way — or might expect too much now that you are sober and “everything is different.” Talking about expectations will help them to take a look at the situation in present time and form more realistic standards moving forward.

Do That

It’s enough work to take the time to discuss in detail what exactly is going to be expected of you by your family and friends, but now you have to actually follow through on it. You beat the habit of drinking or using drugs, and now is the time to change your other habits in terms of how you relate to people, how you handle your obligations, what you do for them and more. The people you spoke with may have been duly impressed that you were interested in what they thought and wanted to take their expectations into consideration, but what will really impress them, and help you cement stable relationships, is if you follow through on what you said you would do, now and in the long term.

Find Sober Friends

You cannot keep spending time with the people you used to drink or use drugs with. No matter how much they may say that they support you in your sobriety, the fact is that they do not. Some may be paying lip service to this, but even those who really do think it is a good thing that you have gotten sober do not really support it, because by the fact of their own continued substance abuse they are essentially headed in the opposite direction from the one you have chosen for yourself. Furthermore, even if your time with these people does not include times when they are getting high or drunk, there is a chance that being around these people will have a tendency to restimulate your own memories and make you experience cravings. No amount of sentimentality is worth your sobriety, your health and happiness in the years ahead.

Find New Activities

When you were an addict, your life most likely revolved around drinking or getting high. The times when you weren’t actually engaged in substance abuse were probably dominated by thoughts of how you would get your next fix, and you likely had everything arranged around making it possible for you to do so. What will you do with your time now? Addiction has left a vacuum in your life, and now is the time for you to fill that vacuum with something constructive, engaging and enjoyable. Find a new hobby, start volunteering, pursue education that will help you further your career, or do anything else which will set your new life on the right path.

Start Exercising

How often did you work out while you were drinking or using drugs? You may be sober now, but are you healthy? Getting into a regular exercise routine can make a world of difference in improving your energy levels, your sense of well-being, and your feeling of self-confidence. Whether you take up running or cycling, start going to the gym, or join a team, you can take things to a whole other level by getting into shape. An added benefit of this is that exercising will tend to put you in the company of other people who are dedicated to living healthy lifestyles, which will help to support you in your new life.

Get a Good Diet

If you were like most people who have spent years drinking or using drugs, you likely did not have the best diet during that time. It’s true that you are what you eat, and your body may now be showing the signs of a long period of malnutrition. Cut out junk food from your diet, keep sugar and unhealthy fats to a minimum, and load up on fresh vegetables and fruits, fish and lean meats. Drink plenty of water, and avoid having too much coffee. The change won’t happen overnight, but with time your tastes will change, you will start craving healthy food rather than junk, and you will begin to notice remarkable changes in your energy level, appearance, immunity and overall health.

Get Enough Rest

Whatever your sleep schedule was while you were addicted, it was in all likelihood not one that was conducive to good physical and mental health. Sleeping all day and staying up all night, sleeping off and on through the night, going days on end without sleep and then crashing — these are only a few common examples of the kinds of schedules which characterize “rest” for an addict. You might be surprised to see what a difference it can make to get yourself into a rhythm of sleeping for eight hours every night. It can translate to higher energy levels, a far better mood, sharper mental alertness, less illness and more.

Find and Pursue Your Goals

Perhaps the most important step you can take following your recovery from addiction is to figure out what your goals are in life, and to set about following those goals. In fact, this will tend to make the other things happen, since once you are headed along a trajectory towards your goals, things like getting enough rest and getting along with your family will have to fall into line. This is especially important if you became an addict when you were in your teens, when you may not have already worked out the goals for your future. The future is a blank slate, and it is up to you to decide what you want to be, do and have, but you have to make that decision and carry it out.


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Alarming Increase in Heroin Use Across Many U.S. States Mon, 26 Jan 2015 23:00:42 +0000 America's heroin epidemic

One recent news story after another reveals the extent of the heroin epidemic rolling across the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states.

Like these headlines, for example:


February 2014: How Did Idyllic Vermont Become America’s Heroin Capital?

November 2014: “Region battles cheap, powerful heroin that kills.” (Massachusetts)

January 2015: “Since 2012, authorities track 450 percent rise in heroin-related deaths in Loudoun.” (Virginia)

January 2015: “St. Elizabeth sees ‘alarming’ jump in heroin ODs.” (Kentucky)

2 million in heroin each week in VermontAcross much of the Eastern US, similar stories are told. Heroin has moved out of the inner cities where it has created devastation for decades, and it has now arrived in the suburbs. Many young people who didn’t seem destined for drug use and certainly not for a drug overdose are being lost to heroin.

Two quotes from these news stories reveal the just how grim this situation is.

Vermont: “Last month, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin devoted his entire annual address to the state’s heroin crisis. Two million dollars’ worth of heroin is pumped into Vermont each week.”

Virginia: “Much of the heroin that is circulated locally is laced with dangerous synthetic opiates such as fentanyl, increasing the likelihood of an overdose.”

One Family Fights Back

In Ohio, one family has taken on the job of spreading news about these dangers on every media channel they can find. The Riggs family lost their beautiful daughter Marin in 2012, just weeks after she turned 20. She had been addicted to heroin since she was 18. They want other families to be aware of the danger faced by their younger members. You can see more on this story here:

Marin Riggs died of heroin overdoseThe heroin epidemic takes so many families by complete surprise because the young people who are becoming addicted these days aren’t in an environment where drug use is common. Good students who are doing well in school and live in orderly homes are turning up addicted and the families can’t understand what happened.

Experiences of families like the Riggs are proof that this terrible drug can invade any community. When a child starts using drugs, they can become moody and drop activities they used to enjoy. They may manifest rebellion and spend lots of time in their rooms. Families may be frustrated but not overly worried, thinking that these and other changes are just signs of being a teenager. But they can conceal drug use that starts in hiding and continues to be hidden until the addiction can no longer be kept a secret.

You can see some of the signs of teenage drug abuse and addiction here:

What Parents Can Do

If you see these signs in your children or grandchildren, the right thing to do is take action. Start finding out more about his (or her) life, who he goes out with, where he goes, how his grades are, what activities he is involved in, how much money he has. Make sure you detect if he leaves the home at night when everyone else is sleeping. If any items are missing out of the home or business, you should get much more vigilant.

If your child is away at college, make a couple of surprise visits. Be willing to bring up challenging subjects like alcohol or drug consumption. While you need to cover all drugs, some of our educational articles on heroin are collected here:

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The 5 Most Common Behavior Traits of an Addict Wed, 21 Jan 2015 18:41:22 +0000 five common traits of addictThe behavior of an addicted person is baffling, frustrating, frightening and sad. The power of addictive substances is so strong that many people are overwhelmed by it. Their actions and words are dictated by their need for more drugs but those who know and love him (or her) may not be able to understand why they are acting the way they are. Without realizing that drug use is behind the odd, erratic, abusive or criminal behavior you’re looking at, the mystery may continue for years.

There are a few people who can be addicted to drugs or alcohol and continue to function at a job or in society. Almost no one can succeed equally in all areas of life. The stress will show up somewhere and often, that’s behind closed doors. Thus, wives, children, siblings and parents may see the worst of his behavior while co-workers or friends may think things are fine for quite a while longer.

When someone you love is addicted, the truth is very hard to face. You’re not alone in having a hard time dealing with the personality and morality changes of the one you love. This list is provided to help you separate fact from fantasy. Once you know what’s going on, you can make better decisions and take the right actions.

Common Behavior Traits of an Addict

1. They lie.

They have to tell lies to mislead people about where they were when they were really out buying or using drugs or alcohol. They have to lie about where the hundreds or thousands of dollars went. The more they feel they need drugs, the more likely they are to feel the need to lie.

When you have trusted a person for years and then she begins lying to you, it’s very hard to set that trust aside. Family and good friends can be fooled by a skillful liar for years. But all this time, the person is slowly destroying herself.

If a person’s behavior changes markedly and the explanations don’t really add up, you have to hold onto your own common sense. If what you’re being told doesn’t make sense, then there’s probably a very good reason – you’re being lied to. You might be able to check some of the stories. Most, you probably can’t. You will have no way of knowing if someone actually siphoned the gas out of his car, causing him to need $20 from you right now. The real tipoff is that these strange things keep happening to him. Gradually, his life descends into chaos, camouflaged by these lies.

2. They manipulate.

Unless they are also addicted, the family and close friends of an addicted person really want her to thrive and be happy. They try to encourage good decisions but the addicted person is on a destructive track. The allure of the drugs is so powerful, she feels she needs the drugs to function, to be able to get through another day, to not get desperately sick from withdrawal. So she manipulates those who love her the most.

Drugs like opiates, alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine, synthetics like Spice and even marijuana can change a person who was loving and open with her family into someone who has to manipulate everyone so they will let her keep using drugs.

With love in their hearts, family and close friends try to convince the addicted person to stop using these deadly substances, to go to rehab. But her answer?

“I have it under control.”
“I can stop any time I want.”
“You are just jealous because I can have fun and you can’t.”
“You never want me to enjoy myself.”
“It’s your fault I’m this way.”
“You don’t even try to understand how I feel.”
“You wouldn’t say that if you loved me.”
And many, many more examples of this type.

And perhaps the most awful type of manipulation occurs between a man and wife or girlfriend and boyfriend. When caught using drugs, the addicted person will promise to do better, to go to meetings, to start going to church, to get another job, to stop seeing drug dealers or other drug users. The non-addict really wants to believe the promises so he lets up on the pressure. He lets the addict back in the home or backs down from kicking her out. As soon as the pressure is off, the addicted person will probably be attentive and loving for a little while – until the next binge of drug or alcohol use. Then all bets are off.

An addict may call in the middle of the night, crying and professing love, begging to see the one he loves just one more time, but then if they meet, he asks for money just to get some good food and then is gone. The money goes to drugs. It’s all manipulation.

Unfortunately, this pattern of manipulation all too often goes on for months or years without there being any change in behavior. When everything valuable is gone and the children are at risk, the non-addict finally moves away or changes the locks.

The sad truth is that while a person is addicted, the promises can’t be believed. They are just more manipulation.

3. They are very likely to be engaged in criminal acts.

This isn’t true of every addict, but it is a typical pattern for a person who has been addicted for a considerable time. Eventually, the money runs out. They have pawned or sold everything of value. They owe friends and family money. There are no more assets but the drugs or alcohol have to be obtained.

At this point, many people will begin committing crimes. Selling or manufacturing drugs are common ones. Burglary, robbery, identity theft, credit card theft, car thefts and shoplifting are also common. An employee may steal items from the place of business and pawn or sell them. Someone with access to cash may embezzle from a company. Many people steal items from the homes of family or friends.

When a person is addicted to prescription drugs, the crimes may be a little different. He may visit multiple doctors to get prescriptions for pills or may forge prescriptions. In recent years, there have been more safeguards put in place in most states so that these attempts are less likely to succeed.

Of course, there is driving while drunk or high. Also, some drugs change a person’s personality to make him more paranoid or aggressive which can result in assault or domestic violence charges.

And unfortunately, some drugs so deplete a person’s sense of self-respect that he or she will turn to prostitution or any degraded activity that will score them their next hit.

4. An addict will shift the blame.

addict acusing anotherIrresponsibility is the name of the game for an addict. Whereas this person may have lived their prior life as a highly responsible individual, drug addiction steals that quality away. Whatever happens is never his fault. If he gets fired from a job, it’s the boss’s fault, the addict was unfairly targeted. If he gets in a car accident, it was totally someone else’s fault. If he fails at some activity, those close to him will be blamed.

Family will appeal to him to please care for the children and his spouse, please get another job, please stop using these drugs and so on. Even if he wants to, the addiction is more powerful than he is and he will be drawn to his drug dealer, his drug-using friends and whatever means he must employ to keep the drugs coming. What really has to happen is that he must be rehabilitated to the point of having more power than the drugs.

5. An addict is very likely to become abusive.

It’s tragic that an addict’s blame can even take a violent and abusive form. With the delusional thinking common to most addicts, he can perceive those around him as being threatening, dangerous or malicious. As he shifts the blame, he may physically, mentally or emotionally attack those he blames.

The spouse of an addict very often bears the brunt of both the blame and the abuse. It’s hard to do anything right. He or she is not supportive. Mental and emotional abuse may be directed at the spouse to completely shut down any ability to effectively fight the real problem – the addiction. It’s very common for spouses and significant others to be browbeaten into submission, often for years.

Of course, physical violence is a very real possibility, especially toward spouses, children, elderly parents – particularly those people who can’t fight back.

It doesn’t matter what drug a person is addicted to – the need to get and use the drug is a compulsion. If it were not bigger and more powerful at this moment than his own will, he would not be addicted, he would stop using drugs and begin to fix his life.

There is Hope

recovery is possibleBut out of this whole tragic, chaotic situation, there is ray of hope. Rehabilitation and recovery are possible. When a person goes through an effective rehabilitation program and overcomes his (or her) need for drugs or alcohol, it is possible to see that bright, caring and responsible person come back again. It’s possible to recover one’s interest in life and to lose the continuous craving for drugs.

Not every program focuses on bringing about these changes. There are many programs where the philosophy is to medicate the person in recovery with methadone, Suboxone, antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs. But this isn’t the only method of rehabilitation.

The Narconon program is dedicated to bringing about strong life skills so a person can succeed in life. Not only are there no drugs given as part of the Narconon rehab program, there is a step of the program devoted to a healthy method of detoxifying the body of old drug residues as this helps with clarity of thinking – and many people says it also reduces or even may eliminate cravings. Another major step of the program offers an innovative way to recover from the trauma of the past and regain a sharp new perception of the present.

This recovery takes time, so there is no set time limit on the Narconon program. A person progresses through the steps at his or her own rate. The most important thing is that he regains the skills he needs to build a new, sober life and repair his loving relationships with family and close friends. This is the goal of the Narconon program – a goal that has been successfully achieved for nearly fifty years. If this sounds good to you and you want to know more, just give us a call.

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Living with an Alcoholic or Addict Mon, 19 Jan 2015 21:43:39 +0000 woman receiving abuse from addictThere are plenty of challenging situations in life but surviving life with an alcoholic or addict is one of the most severe. The problems created by that person’s addiction can be life-threatening, can cause bankruptcy and the mental and emotional stress are unrelenting. Since some people continue to be addicted for years, the situation creates a continuous strain that can sap all the happiness out of family members dealing with this problem.

Because the condition of addiction is often so similar from one person to the next, the actions needed to survive this situation may be also be quite similar. Take a look at this advice based on the experience of many who have lived through it before and see what you can implement to improve your situation.

Protect Yourself and Others Who Might be Vulnerable

This is extremely important. You will not be able to help anyone if you are sick, injured or beaten down by worry or abuse. Children must feel that their home and daily environment are safe. This could mean temporary relocation while a lasting solution is found. Or it might mean asking for someone else to provide mental or physical support. For example, asking another family member to move into the home so the addicted person knows that someone else could be present any time they choose to drop by. It will usually means changing locks and proofing the house from intrusion. Schools must be notified that an addicted parent may not pick up children. As much as possible, build a strong perimeter around yourself, children, the elderly and others who could be harmed.

Protect Your Valuables

When someone is addicted, it’s like the drugs or drinks are thinking for him. The drive to prevent withdrawal is so strong that he (or she) may do things that are completely against his true nature – that person he was before addiction took hold. Therefore, at this time, you must protect your own assets.

Predict what the addicted person might do to obtain your valuables. Here too, change the locks on homes, businesses, storage spaces. Also change bank accounts, credit cards, safe deposit boxes. Don’t forget about garage door openers or key cards. Any way of entrance or access the addicted person has must be closed.

Not only does this protect your assets, it also shuts down every means the person has of getting money for more drugs. This is a double-edged sword, because while it protects your assets, it could mean that the addicted person turns to criminal activity to keep the drugs coming.

Consider Who Else Needs to Know

If your assets are shielded, who else might the addicted person turn to for money? He could trade on his past good reputation and bargain with old friends, promising future work for a down payment. She could hit up people she has helped in the past and ask for loans or coerce them into “investing” with her.

learn to confide in others

The social norms seem to dictate secrecy and silence at this time. You can’t broadcast the bad news of this addiction across town but you can consider confiding in a small circle of friends and associates that the addicted person is likely to tap at this time.

When you know that someone is addicted, and you’ve seen drugs drive honesty and trustworthiness out the window, it’s very likely that there are others who need this knowledge. One father went so far as to visit a doctor his son was getting pills from and tell the doctor that his son was abusing the pills to the point of total addiction.

Realize That You Didn’t Cause the Addiction

Unless you were feeding the person drugs yourself, you probably didn’t have much to do with causing the addiction. The addicted person may have you believe otherwise. It is very often the nature of addiction that the addict manipulates those around him to keep them from interfering with his ability to get and use drugs. He will accuse others of not understanding, not supporting, not helping, not realizing how upset/unlucky/sick he is – and so on down a long list. These accusations won’t make much sense and there’s probably little (if any) truth to them. You have to stay strong and not accept these claims.

But while you protect your own sanity by rejecting the manipulation, there is very little to be gained by antagonizing the addict. Don’t bother telling him that he’s manipulating or lying. Just skip it, get yourself to a safe place, ask for support or protection from friends or family.

For further advice on surviving this challenge, read the Narconon publication, 14 Rules You Must Never Break When Dealing with Addiction, available at no charge. It’s available here:

The Final Solution

An addicted person needs to be cared for by people who know every trick he is going to pull, every lie she is going to tell. This means the support of rehabilitation professionals.

Many will need to have every means of escape cut off and for his usual contacts for getting drugs or money to be far away. This is why in-patient rehabilitation is a better choice for a person deeply immersed in addiction. He has a chance to focus on his recovery without daily challenges and triggers.

The Narconon program has helped the majority of those seeking recovery find the lasting sobriety they were hoping for. In dozens of locations on six continents, the Narconon program is long-term and residential. It focuses on detoxifying the body, bringing about mental and emotional recovery from the trauma of addiction and building the skills a person needs to avoid relapse.

To locate a Narconon center and learn more about this program, call 1-800-775-8750 today.

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Ten Signs You May Be Addicted to Marijuana Sun, 18 Jan 2015 06:24:16 +0000 10 ways to tell if you are addicted marijuanaThe evidence is quite clear now – yes, many people are becoming addicted to marijuana. It happens in greater numbers among those who start young, but it can happen to anyone. Once you’re addicted, the whole shape of your life begins to shift around to focus on the use of weed. You may not even realize you’ve become addicted. To find out, check your answers to these ten questions.

1. Have you abandoned activities you once enjoyed, such as sports, art, music, writing or traveling?

Research has validated the fact that marijuana brings about mental changes that can nega-tively affect motivation or decisions. Activities that require quick mental competence, concentration or initiative may not be as much fun any more and may be abandoned.

2. Have goals that were once important to you gone by the wayside, such as career or education?

One study from the University of Texas found that marijuana users averaged five IQ points less than those who did not smoke the drug. Another study found that teens who used the drug lost an average of 8 IQ points and that they did not recover these points when they stopped using it. A loss like this could make it more difficult to succeed at work or school.

3. Have you noticed changes in your own mental condition, memory or ability to think clearly?

Heavy and continuous use of marijuana can be associated with the following unpleasant mental conditions: anxiety, depression, forgetfulness, loss of an accurate time sense, short-term psychosis, paranoia and suicidal thoughts. Because all drug abuse results in a lowered awareness in one area or another, you may not even be fully aware of the changes in your own condition. You may want to ask those who know you best.

4. Are your relationships with spouse, children, other family or close friends deteriorating?

When a marijuana user’s interest in life wanes as a result of using this drug, it is common for her (or him) to put less effort into relationships, especially if the people in those relationships don’t use the drug or disapprove of its use. Are you encountering any conflict or unhappiness with those around you that might result from this deterioration?

5. Do you prefer the company of other people using this or other drugs?

This is a typical change for a person who is headed down a road toward addiction. Friends who might disapprove of their drug use are dropped and people who are themselves using the same or other drugs are chosen. Now, there’s no one around who will disagree or disapprove but it is a red flag you should pay attention to.

6. Is it harder to make decisions?

A study from 2010 showed that marijuana users involved in the study seemed to care less about the results of their decisions and so they didn’t learn from experience. Another study found that users cared less about consequences and so were less able to control their own im-pulsivity, resulting in inferior decisions. If it takes longer to make a decision and you are less certain of it, this should alert you to a problem.

7. Have you experienced adverse symptoms as a result of your cannabis use, such as epi-sodes of intense stomach pain and vomiting, lung irritation, panic attacks or hallucinations?

These symptoms can all result from heavy use of marijuana. For most people, it would be logical to stop consuming marijuana if symptoms like these show up. If you see these signs but are continuing, this is a pretty good sign that you have reached a dangerous stage of your mari-juana use.

8. Have you lost a job or missed other important opportunities because of changes in your thinking or behavior that came about after you started heavy use of marijuana?

As noted earlier, it is common for a person who’s a chronic user of marijuana to become less interested in their usual activities, even to the point of losing a job or blowing off significant opportunities. And when those opportunities have been missed, the person addicted to mari-juana may be more unconcerned than the situation might warrant. If this has happened to you and perhaps you’re even thinking of selling pot to make ends meet and keep your own supply intact, it’s definitely time for a change.

sign of marijuana addiction

9. Are you more concerned with making sure you have a supply of this drug than you are other important parts of your life?

This is almost a dead giveaway for an addiction. What is your attitude when you run out of pot? How much time and effort do you put into replenishing your supply? Do you ever use money that should really be allocated for something else – like rent, food or children’s needs – for your drugs?

10. And most importantly, despite the presence of some or even all of these signs, do you continue to use weed?

A person who’s not addicted is likely to make the effort to remedy problems resulting from drug abuse. The addicted person may not be able to rise above his cravings and dependence unless he gets help. So the damage can continue and even get worse.

How many of these points do you find to be true in your situation? A few? All of them? Even if you only find a few of these points to be true, the key factor is whether or not you can see that damage is occurring, make the decision to quit using drugs and then stick with that decision.

If you can’t, then you need help to break free from this dependence on marijuana. Call us for help – the Narconon program has been helping the addicted build strong, sober lives for nearly fifty years.

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Alcohol Abuse Treatment and Self Help Guide Wed, 14 Jan 2015 19:51:16 +0000 alcohol abuseHoping to quit drinking and get sober but don’t know how? have you tried to quit in the past but failed for whatever reason? Maybe you just didn’t know how to quit. Though it all begins with the decision to change, there is a lot more to recovery than simply changing one’s mind. Recovery is different for everyone, but there are certain things that must occur, and guidelines that should be followed for a smooth and successful rehabilitation. The team at has assembled an exhaustive guide to alcohol abuse and self-help, which can be used to assist one in the process of attempting to get sober. Self-guided recovery is not possible in every case — very often it is necessary to get into an in-patient rehab facility — but for those who are able to follow this route, the guide is a tremendous resource. It also provides insight into some of the things that one can expect during a rehab program. The main points of the guide are outlined below:

Commit to stop drinking

Before you can expect to see any real success in getting sober, you have to make the sincere commitment and firm decision to quit. It cannot be something you try out and see how it goes, or hope for the best. You must decide fully that you are no longer going to be a drug addict or an alcoholic and that you are going to make a fresh start in your life.

Set goals and prepare for change

Be very clear with yourself about exactly what you are going to do. Are you going to scale back on your drinking, or go completely sober? Are you going to quit using drugs entirely? Don’t leave any ambiguity in the situation. And you should set a target date for quitting, as well as setting goals for what you are going to do after you get sober.

Get sober safely

If you have been drinking heavily on a regular basis, your body has probably gotten accustomed to the daily onslaught of alcohol and done its best to adapt. Suddenly quitting could actually cause problems ranging from minor irritants to complications that might land you in the emergency room. It might be necessary to have medical supervision while drying out.

Find new meaning in life

While living as an alcoholic, life is essentially all about drinking. Now that you are getting sober, you have to figure out what is going to replace that — otherwise, alcohol might slide back in to fill the empty space. Take care of yourself, find friends who support your sobriety, get involved in new activities, and learn to manage your stress in healthy ways without resorting to alcohol

Plan for triggers and cravings

It would be naive to assume that you will never want a drink again. Make plans for what you will do when you experience cravings, how you will remove yourself from the situation and find a substitute for drinking. Learn to spot the triggers that typically will make you want to have a drink, such as spending time with certain people or going to specific places where you were used to drinking.

Get support

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of having a strong and stable network of support to help you get sober and maintain your sobriety. You need people you can talk to about the thoughts and feelings you experience while working to recover. You need people who will speak up when they see something is not right, and reach out to you if they haven’t heard from you in a while. You need people who know how important it is for you to stay sober and would not do anything to jeopardize this.

Getting started on treatment

Heading into treatment, make sure that you have the right attitude and know what to expect. Realize that it’s not a sure cure, and that results won’t happen on their own. Know that your recovery depends on more than just drying out, and that you will have to work on a variety of issues that caused or contributed to your addiction. Be willing to continue in rehab no matter how difficult it may be at times. And realize that there are people who want to help you get sober.

The full article at includes an enormous amount of detail on these points, with tables that guide one in evaluating the costs versus the benefits of continuing to drink, questionnaires to help one lay out goals for getting sober, recommendations for implementing these plans, and background explanations of how any why the process works. But whether you follow this guide in full or not, know that the first step is deciding to quit now!

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Contraband Users Susceptible to Drug Abuse Tue, 13 Jan 2015 19:48:53 +0000 contrabandThe use of contraband cigarettes among young adults may be a reliable indicator of illicit drug use, according to a new study out of Canada. A team of researchers working at the University of Alberta evaluated data collected from 2,136 high school students in the 9th through 12th grades, using information gathered during the 2010-2011 Youth Smoking Survey conducted by Statistics Canada, a division of that country’s federal government. The major finding of the University of Alberta study was that teenagers who smoke contraband cigarettes are several times more likely to also be found using illicit drugs. Cigarettes in Canada are heavily taxed, increasing the cost of a pack of smokes by around 75%, a measure which is meant in large part to curb the rates of nicotine use by making the habit cost prohibitive. Though this is likely effective to a degree, it also gives rise to a black market which is estimated at around $1.5 billion in value. Some people are making a lot of money by smuggling cigarettes across the border and around the country into provinces with higher cigarette tax rates, and many young adults in that country smoke these contraband cigarettes.

According to the University of Alberta study, 31% of high school aged teenagers in Canada use contraband cigarettes, a measure of just how popular bootlegged cigarettes are in that country as a way to avoid paying higher rates for a legal pack of smokes. Given that the percentage is that high, the news that contraband cigarette consumption is linked with higher risk of drug use is cause for real concern, and this concern is borne out by the numbers. In the 9th through 12th grades:

  • 31% of contraband cigarette smokers use cocaine, compared with 18% of those who use legal cigarettes
  • 45% of contraband cigarette smokers use MDMA (Ecstasy, Molly), compared with 33%
  • Amphetamine and ketamine use is nearly three times as common among contraband cigarette smokers
  • Heroin, recognized as being the most dangerous and highly addictive drug known, is used by 6 times as many Canadian teenagers who smoke contraband cigarettes compared with their peers

The University of Alberta Study is the first of its kind, examining this relationship between the use of contraband cigarettes and illicit drug use, and the results raise questions about how we can most effectively respond and address the factors involved. “If, as we believe this study shows, contraband cigarette use is associated with illicit drug use, then intensive effort needs to be made to avoid this – by both government and tobacco companies,” said Professor Mesbah Sharaf of the University of Alberta. “Adolescence is a critical period, and most unhealthy habits are developed at an early age.”

Contraband Cigarette Use as a Risk Factor for Drug Use

A possible explanation for the link between contraband cigarette use and illicit drugs is the fact that by purchasing bootlegged cigarettes, a young person is knowingly crossing a line and doing something against the law (even more so than simply smoking under the legal age), an act which helps to open the door to further illegal behaviors. Looking at the statistics, it is clear that drug use generally is common among teenagers who smoke cigarettes, but it is more common, sometimes dramatically more so, among those who use contraband cigarettes.

In response to the findings of the study, we are reminded of the fact that getting involved with drugs is often a slippery slope, a process in which a person may at first be doing something relatively innocuous, only to later slide into riskier and more harmful behaviors. It is vital to catch this type of situation early, and to take preventative action through education to help the young person make the right choices now and in the future.


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Withdrawal Symptoms from Marijuana? Tue, 13 Jan 2015 16:58:02 +0000 Some People Still Don’t Think They Exist

teen pot userWill marijuana cause withdrawal symptoms if a person quits using it, like other drugs do? There are many people who claim that there are no withdrawal symptoms and that the drug isn’t addictive. You may have heard these two claims repeated over and over again.

However, both of these claims are false. There is plenty of documentation that marijuana is, indeed, addictive and that one does experience withdrawal symptoms after quitting use.

Here’s why you may have heard both claims in the same breath, so to speak. The classic definition of addiction includes compulsive use of a drug despite all the harm and destruction that results AND the presence of withdrawal symptoms when a person quits using that drug. The third characteristic of addiction is that a person will develops tolerance, which means that more of a drug must be consumed to get the same effects as before. When these points exist related to the use of a drug, then addiction exists.

Can marijuana create this condition?

Yes on all counts.

In 2012, more than 300,000 people were admitted to treatment programs to get help for marijuana addiction. (Actually, it was more than this because this number only includes people who went into publicly-funded programs.) These are people who needed support to stop ruining their lives with marijuana consumption. Since only about one person in ten who needs treatment gets it, this means that more than three million Americans were addicted to this drug in 2012.

The Arapahoe House is a treatment facility that accepts teens for treatment. They recently reported that the number of teens being admitted for treatment of marijuana addiction has risen 66% between 2011 and 2014. It’s important to note that marijuana is far more addictive for a young person than an adult. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has calculated that 9% of all people using marijuana will wind up addicted. But when use starts in the teenaged years, that number jumps to 17% – something parents should realize.

Recent Studies Provide Proof of Withdrawal Symptoms for Marijuana

There have been a couple of significant studies in the last few years that provide insight into the phenomenon of marijuana withdrawal.

In 2012, an Australia study monitored the effects suffered when 49 people addicted to marijuana quit using the drug. This group reported: “irritability, sleep difficulties and other symptoms that affected their ability to work and their relationships.”

The study also isolated the symptoms that interfered the most with their daily lives. These problematic symptoms included:

  • physical tension
  • sleep problems
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • mood swings
  • loss of appetite.

Then, in 2014, a study followed the symptoms of 76 teens admitted to a substance abuse clinic for treatment of marijuana addiction. Of these, 36 experienced the withdrawal symptoms listed above.

What Conclusion Would You Draw?

Gradually, our society is coming to grips with the fact that this drug is addictive. Perhaps the most important element of addiction to consider is the compulsion to continue to use this drug, even though bad things are happening in your life. A common phenomenon experienced by a chronic marijuana user is seeing the harmful effects happening and not even caring, as heavy marijuana use tends to create a numbness or apathy.

Hopefully, this will clarify the subject for you. If you are using this drug, you now know what to expect when you quit. If you need help quitting and just as importantly, getting your life back on track, call us. We help people recover their ability to live productive, enjoyable lives every day.


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Addictive, Damaging Party Drug Ketamine as Fast Treatment for Depression? Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:53:15 +0000 Sounds Way Too Good to be True

10 things about ketamine bookletDid you ever hear that saying “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t”? That could apply to plans to use the party drug ketamine to treat depression. In an article published on the website, it’s reported that doctors have been trying out ketamine to treat those struggling with depression. Here’s one reason why ketamine has caught the attention of medical practitioners: doctors may have to wait weeks for there to be any change at all in patients after a drug is prescribed for depression but ketamine’s impact is very fast.

Some doctors think that ketamine should not only be used to treat depression, but also someone who is suicidal. Dr. Zarate of the National Institute of Mental Health has even stated that a person who has just tried to commit suicide may be able to be treated with ketamine and then be released within hours. When a person may have taken years to get so upset with life that he wants to kill himself, it could be deeply irresponsible to just give this person a drug and then send him on his way.

Why Ketamine is a Drug to be Taken Seriously

  1. Ketamine is mainly used as an animal anesthetic. It is occasionally used as an anesthetic for humans and in fact, was frequently used in field hospitals in Vietnam. But the aftereffects of the drug were sufficiently alarming that it has mostly dropped out of use except for specific situations where other drugs can’t used. What were those alarming aftereffects? Hallucinations, delirium, bizarre and frightening dreams that may even occur later, after the drug has worn off.

  1. Another reason the drug should be taken seriously is that in some circles, ketamine is a very popular drug of abuse. Among ravers and partygoers, it is renowned for causing dissociation – a condition where your mind and identity appear to be separate from your body or the environment. Any drug that is prone to abuse must be administered very carefully to restrict access to those who might want to abuse it.
  1. Ketamine is addictive so having more of this drug in circulation could make more of it available for diversion and abuse. This was the pattern that followed when there was an enormous increase in the number of painkiller prescriptions written.
  1. Chronic use of ketamine is associated with damage to the bladder, even to the point of severe pain on urination, inability to urinate or the need for surgery to remove the bladder entirely.
  1. Because ketamine causes amnesia as well as anesthesia, it is one of the main date-rape drugs, along with GHB and Rohypnol. A victim will not be able to taste ketamine if it has been added to her drink. Again, this is a good reason to take the drug seriously and severely limit its distribution.

Download our free booklet “10 Things About Ketamine”.


So Will this Treatment for Depression Work?

An instant-fix for depression resembles one of those situations where something sounds too good to be true. It’s very hard to envision a situation where a person can try to kill themselves at noon, be injected with ketamine and then be discharged to lead a normal, happy life before dinner. That a drug could accomplish something like this. Could this “quick fix” attitude end up putting depressed or suicidal people in danger because of the fast treatment and discharge, not to mention the side effects of the drug itself?

What we don’t want is a large experiment that results in unnecessary loss of life or misery. There are very few if any problems in life that can truly be solved with the jab of a needle. When lives are on the line, prudence dictates a thorough period of research before giving people this false hope of an instant recovery from serious problems.;jsessionid=5D4D40228B5F91F851061D77BF0FFE2A.f01t01?v=1&t=i4oiv8tf&s=34f060c5f2958522e460274d0413e2f79ae9d768

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The Difficulties in Finding Substance Abuse Treatment Thu, 08 Jan 2015 19:43:41 +0000 searching netThe latest estimates hold that there are roughly 20 million people across the United States whose drinking or drug use is serious enough that they meet the criteria for having a substance abuse disorder. These people, men and women from all social strata and all walks of life, share one thing in common: Their struggles with substance abuse are out of control and they are losing a battle with addiction. Of these, around 1 in 10, or 2 million people, make it into treatment for their addiction in a given year. 

This leaves another 18 million Americans, nearly as many as the population of New York or Florida, in the grips of addiction, living their lives to get high or drunk and letting everything else slide to some degree or another. Multiply the 18 million by however many others have their own lives ruined by the fact that a family member or loved one is an addict, and it is easy to see just how truly staggering is the scale of the addiction epidemic in the United States. Why don’t the 18 million get into treatment? Why do they leave themselves and their loved ones in a lurch, suffering from all the misery caused by drugs and alcohol?

Recognizing the Problem

In some cases, of course, addicts stay out of treatment for the simple reason that they are trapped in the jaws of their addiction and are not yet ready to make a change. They haven’t hit rock bottom, or have not had an experience that convinced them it was time to get sober. But this is not the only reason. Others don’t get treatment for the simple reason that they can’t. A recent article in USA Today highlighted this issue, “Substance abuse treatment often impossible to find.” In it, we read about the example of a woman whose experience suffering sexual abuse at the hands of a family member drove her to using drugs and alcohol as a teenager. By the time she was in her late 20s, she was addicted to cocaine and methamphetamine, drugs she used simply to try to feel normal and get along with others. She had trouble getting treatment over the course of several decades, due in part to the fact that healthcare providers were unsure how to approach her problem; in addition to her drug addiction, she also suffered from the mental and emotional trauma caused by her abuse, and the route to recovery was unclear for her. This is only one example of the complexities that can present themselves for a person who wants to get sober but falls into the many categories which comprise the 18 million.

Is rehab covered by my insurance?

Another major issue which often stands in the way of a person who needs addiction treatment is the question of whether or not it will even be available when the person decides to make the move. Patrick Kennedy, a former U.S. Representative and also a former addict, is quoted in the USA Today article as saying that, as an addict “you can only get care at the very end stage of your illness.” In many cases, a person who will be receiving rehab treatment will be doing so with the help of an insurance policy which covers much or most of the often considerable fees involved. Not all insurance companies pay like they should for addiction treatment, and in many cases they will not cover the treatment until it is too late or nearly so. “The way we pay for treatment of addiction and mental illness,” Kennedy goes on to explain, “you would be waiting until you have Stage IV cancer before you began chemotherapy. But that is often how we reimburse for mental health and addiction treatment.” Shockingly, many insurance companies don’t pay for rehab treatment until the person has reached a point where in all likelihood his or her life is in shambles, whereas a far more effective approach would be to offer treatment on a more proactive and even preventative basis, so that the person can recover before falling into the depths of addiction. The result is that a large number of the 18 million are simply people who want to get sober but are having to wait because their insurance won’t pay yet.

Can I really afford rehab?

In a related vein, there are the ones who haven’t gotten into rehab because they are unwilling — or unable — to pay or to get the support of a family member who might otherwise help cover the costs. They may have entirely understandable considerations about the costs of treatment, which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Similarly, they might not be able to reckon the time spent away at an in-patient rehab against their obligations and commitments with family and work. These worries, however well-founded they may appear to be, are not entirely valid when compared against what is at stake.

The costs of addiction treatment might be great, but they are nothing when valued against the costs of not getting help. How much greater might a person’s earning power be, free from drugs and alcohol? How much money might they save in legal and healthcare costs associated with substance abuse? And what value could you place on the happiness and stability of the addict and his or her family? Finally, it must be remembered that the difference between getting treatment and not could be a life-or-death question, something that no rational person would put a price tag on knowing the stakes.

Finding the Right Program for You

The difficulties which face a person who needs to get into rehab are not, however, all about the money. An even more fundamental problem for many people is the question of how to know which program is the right one. The most recent figures from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) indicate that there are more than 14,500 specialized drug treatment facilities in the United States. Among these, there is a rich and often bewildering variety of options from which to choose for the type of program that one will use to pursue a recovery. Will you choose a program that uses a strong faith-based approach, with a heavy emphasis on religion and God as a foundation for sobriety? Do you want to attend a rehab center which offers a resort spa atmosphere where you can kick back, relax and be pampered like the stars? Should you enroll in one of the many drug-replacement therapy programs, which use medically supervised dosages of certain drugs such as methadone or buprenorphine to essentially wean the addict off drugs or alcohol? How do you know which one is the best? Another statistic from NIDA about addiction treatment in the United States is that between 40% and 60% of patients relapse following rehab. Of course, some rehab programs are more effective than others, and some contribute more to these figures than others. But the general picture we can clearly see is that you cannot safely assume that any old program will get the job done, and in fact there is a very great risk of failure if you blindly choose your route for addiction treatment.

Narconon Makes Finding Help Easy

The good news is that recovery from addiction is very much a possibility. The Narconon program alone has helped tens of thousands of people to get sober through rehab over the years, and is highly effective in doing so. In fact, a recent compilation of 40 years of studies and surveys into the results achieved by the Narconon program found a success rate of 70% or greater in most cases, which translates to a relapse rate of 30% or less, far more promising than the numbers represented as par for the course by NIDA. People from all walks of life, those from wealthy and impoverished backgrounds alike, come to Narconon to get sober, and they can do so at any one of the many Narconon centers located throughout the U.S. and indeed worldwide.

Substance abuse treatment may not be easy to find or access for everyone, but it is out there and solutions and help are available. Anyone who is worried that they might fall into the category of 18 million Americans who need rehab but don’t get it just needs to contact Narconon to reach out for help, and that will be their first step on the road to recovery and happiness.

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