It’s the holiday season, and while we’re still living with uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, strides have been made. Many people who have been vaccinated are now around other people for the first time in a while. It may seem that everyone is partying and celebrating.

Most people in recovery choose to stay away from parties or events where there may be drinking or other substance use. But you may feel pressured to go to family events after a long time of not seeing them. Or you may end up at an event you thought was straight-edge, only to learn there is substance abuse taking place.

A Few Easy Ways to Say No

Saying “no” to somebody isn’t as complicated as it sounds. You may feel pressured if the question catches you by surprise. Making “excuses” isn’t necessarily healthy, so don’t feel pressured to make up a lie. Saying “no” and continuing with whatever you’re doing is a good plan.

Again – for the most part, lying isn’t worth it. If you aren’t upfront about the reason you’ve quit drinking, you may be tempted. However, being upfront doesn’t mean breaking your anonymity. Here are a few ways to reject a drink:

You may want to make an excuse or lie up if you’re with strangers, and you don’t want to divulge what’s going on. But if you’re around people you know, don’t be dishonest. Let them know you don’t drink (or smoke weed) and do not intend to any time soon. If that offends them, that’s their problem.

Think, Don’t Drink! Have A Plan

You don’t have to drink or use marijuana or any other substance if you don’t want to. However, if you’re worried about triggers at holiday events,  it’s vital to have an “exit plan,” such as planning to go to a 12-step meeting or another sober gathering.

In recovery, it’s important to keep your feet on the ground. Your safety and serenity should come first in your life. For one thing, COVID isn’t over, and it hasn’t been cured, and you may not even want to go to a party.

If you realize that you’re in a sketchy or uncomfortable situation, it’s time to THINK of your exit plan. Call your sponsor, text a friend, or let somebody else you trust that you’re having a bad time and are heading to a meeting.

Getting Help for Addiction

If you or somebody you love needs help with a substance use disorder, we’re here to help you get started on your journey. Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn about your options.

If you are a parent, partner, or other loved one of a person with a substance use disorder, you’re probably put in some painful situations when your loved one asks for something. You may have helped them in the past with money, paying bills, or even giving them rides to places. Yet you never quite know if they’re telling the truth and often wonder if your “help” has done more harm than good.

Loving somebody with substance use disorder can be challenging. Learning to set boundaries and say "No" can help you transform the relationship and make room to take care of your own needs.

What Happens When You Say No?

What is the worst thing that you think will happen if you tell your loved one that no? For example, what will they do if you say you cannot help them with money this week? Many parents, for example, think their child will stop calling or interacting with them if they cut off the financial support.

More often than not, your loved will keep calling and will continue to ask you for things. This is why it’s so important to have a plan on what your boundaries are, and stick with them.

You may not be willing to cut your child off completely, but setting boundaries is still essential. Let them know you love them, and you want them to get help for their substance use disorder. They can come over for dinner, but only when they are sober. You will take them shopping for groceries, but only when they are sober. You may not want to give your adult child money, but you may be okay with paying their phone bill this month, but not next month. Or you may not want to give them any help at all until they are sober.

When you say no, it’s also an opportunity to give your loved one an alternative or tell them you’ll help them with finding a 12-step meeting or detox. Let your loved one know how you can support them when they’re willing to get the help they need for substance use.

Saying No Can Be Challenging

You may have to say “No” more than once. This is because your loved one may be used to getting their way, so when you say no, they may not believe it at first.

“No” is a complete sentence; you don’t owe somebody who is asking you for something an explanation.

Sometimes, when you learn to say “No,” you may feel the anger behind the word. Getting angry, going into loud, irate explanations, or hanging up on your loved one will leave you feeling guilty. (Then you may be tempted to call them back and say, “I changed my mind.”)

Say “No,” and be polite and kind, and take a deep breath. Your loved one will have to accept that you’ve said no, and they may get upset. If you start to get angry, tell them you will call them back later. Wait until you’re calm and collected to do so.

Nobody is going to change overnight. Your loved one didn’t become addicted overnight, and they aren’t going to get sober overnight. When they first get sober, it will take a while for them to change their lifestyle and behavior. Likewise, changes in your relationship dynamic aren’t going to happen overnight, either. But by setting boundaries, you’ve already started to take care of yourself.

Practicing Self-Care

Once you’ve said "No" to your loved one, it’s time to put yourself first. Be gentle when you begin setting boundaries. Reward yourself with self-care time. This means spending at least 15 minutes a day doing something healthy that helps you unwind. This could be meditation, taking a walk, yoga, or another activity that helps relax you.

Joining a group like Al-Anon may help you learn more coping tools for living with a person with an addiction. Some people even benefit from interventions but getting help for yourself is important.

Help for Addiction

If you or somebody you love has a problem with drugs or alcohol, we’re here to help! You deserve a chance to reclaim your life. Learn more about your options by giving us a call.

 

Are you or somebody you love taking an addictive drug? Are you abusing them? Many people are prescribed drugs by their doctor for medical purposes. Pain and illness are a fact of life. While many people are prescribed medications for ongoing conditions, some people only take them short-term. When the drugs are addictive, however, somebody may continue seeking them out when they don't medically need them.

It’s confusing that doctors prescribe drugs that are easy to abuse.

For many doctors, the goal is to make you feel better. As a result, they may prescribe medications that are addictive, believing it’s worth the risk to help you get better.

Sadly, many people start their journey towards addiction through legally prescribed drugs.

Addictive Prescription Drugs

Many types of prescription drugs have side effects that people find enjoyable. From the dawn of time, people have used substances to alter their thoughts and feelings. So it’s no surprise that some patients who take drugs may try to enhance the pleasurable side effects by abusing them.

There are a lot of different drugs that can be addictive when used in another way than prescribed. Here’s a look at the most common ones:

Getting Help for Addiction

Addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is a treatable and manageable disease. We’re here to help you reclaim your life in a compassionate, professional, healthy environment. Give us a call to learn more about how we can help at 619-363-4767.

To feel is to be human, and when you first get clean and sober, you’ll go through recovery. Everyone has fears in recovery, especially when they’re brand new to it. There’s nothing wrong with being afraid, but it can be uncomfortable.

 Doubt Or Fears About Recovery

You may also have doubts that help feed your fears in recovery. What are doubts, exactly?  Doubts are those little voices that haunt you when you’re feeling insecure or afraid. For people with a substance use disorder, doubt is familiar. It’s often because a person is used to being disappointed. They may have tried many things to get sober, only to relapse again and again.

The disease of addiction, also called substance use disorder, is insidious. It causes a person’s brain to think differently than a healthy brain. It can talk people into relapsing if they’re not using the tools

It’s okay to have doubts, and fear is natural too, but give yourself a chance. Take suggestions if you can, and listen closely to others in therapy and 12-step meetings.

Writing Down Your Doubt And Fears

Doubts and fears are close relatives of each other. For example, you may doubt that something like the 12 steps can work for you. Maybe you think the program didn’t work the first time you tried it, so it can’t work now. Perhaps you think you are endlessly broken and beyond repair.

Write down your doubts and fears. If you’re afraid of failing, write it down. What are you afraid of failing at? If you doubt that you can stay sober, write about that feeling.

As you write, you may discover that you have more fears than you realized. These are some good things to share with somebody you trust, whether it’s your sponsor or your sister. Write down all of your fears and share a few of them. (Share as many as you can, but if you’re not comfortable, then read the paper silently in your head. Or hand it to your trusted partner so they can read it.)

Once you have done this, set yourself free. Let those fears go. Take them to a safe space outdoors and set them on fire.

Getting Help for Addiction

If you or somebody you love has a problem with drugs or alcohol, we’re here to help! No matter what your fears are, you deserve a chance to get sober. We’ll help you get started in a safe and compassionate environment. Give us a call at 619-363-4767 to learn more about your options.

Many people know that fentanyl is a growing problem in all corners of California as well as America. Unfortunately, however, a silent crisis is growing in San Diego County. The most sobering part is that the drugs are the kind that are legally available as well as sold on the street; prescription drugs. And overdoses related to prescription drug use, including opioids,  in 2020 rose to 576 deaths. That’s nearly double the number of overdoses in 2019.

Who Are Most Vulnerable To Overdosing on Prescription Drugs?

According to the Prescription Drug Report Card, men are the most likely to die from an overdose. Out of the 576 overdoses last year, 430 victims were men, and 146 were women.

Prescription drug statistics included opioids, including fentanyl, which has contributed to the most overdose deaths in the nation in the past year.

Prescription Drug Overdose Deaths Are Preventable

Many institutions, including music or arts venues, now keep their supply of naloxone to help reverse overdoses. Naloxone can start working in a matter of minutes, and it’s available from harm reduction organizations and healthcare providers. People who use Medicare or Medi-Cal need a prescription from their doctor for it to be covered. However, some participating pharmacies offer it without a prescription.

The best way to prevent an overdose is to get clean and sober. Staying sober in the long term can help you live your best life. Addiction is a progressive disease, and few people have found recovery without a bit of help.

If you’re addicted to prescription drugs, help is available.

Symptoms of a Prescription Drug Addiction

If somebody you love may have a problem with drugs, you may wonder what the symptoms of a substance use disorder are.

Evidence of misusing prescriptions:

  1. Powder in bags or on mirrors or hard surfaces. Some people with substance use disorder crush pills and snort them. Some people smoke them or inject them. Needles, plastic bags with residue, and glass pipes with burn marks may be evidence of misusing prescriptions.
  2. A person “nods out” or is often groggy during the day, even when they get more than 8 hours of sleep. They may slur words or seem drunk if they are shaken awake.
  3. Hoarding pills from multiple doctors. Evidence of numerous bottles of pills that contain the same prescription.
  4. A considerable change in their lifestyle; they may avoid all of their family and friends. They may begin to have financial trouble, have trouble keeping a job, or simply seem to have ultimately decided to “opt-out” of their former lifestyle.
  5. They may try to stop using prescriptions or promise to stop using, only to start again a few days later. This may be due to physical withdrawal symptoms that make it incredibly challenging to get sober without help.
  6. They may have legal trouble, get DUI’s, or be arrested for forging prescriptions.
  7. They may steal or mismanage the family finances or have other secrets that alienate them from others.

Getting Help for Addiction in San Diego

If you or somebody you love has a problem with prescription drugs, we’re here to help. Getting sober can seem to be a huge task if you’re addicted to a substance. This is why getting help is important! We’re here to help you get started on the journey to recovery. Give us a call at 619-363-4767.

 

Fentanyl-laced cocaine recently made headlines after a shocking loss in the world of comedy, but it’s not a trend that’s in California alone. Drugs of all kinds across the US have been laced with fentanyl, a drug over one hundred times the strength of cocaine. Last August, in New York, six people died from batches of cocaine within the span of a few weeks. And in 2018, the Drug Enforcement Administration put a warning about trafficked cocaine they uncovered that contained both fentanyl, and its cousin, carfentanil. Carfentanil is at least one thousand times as strong as fentanyl; its medicinal use has only been for tranquilizing large animals like elephants.

Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine Tragedy in Los Angeles

Earlier this month, a heartbreaking tragedy involving four prominent comedians took place. After snorting cocaine at a party in Venice Beach, first responders were called to a home in Venice Beach. Upon arrival, they found comedians Fuquan Johnson, Natalie Williamson, and Enrico Colangeli dead from a suspected overdose. In addition, comedian and actress Kate Quigby spent over a week recovering after entering the hospital in critical condition.

Investigators presume that fentanyl in the cocaine was the cause of death but do not confirm yet. It's a trend that first responders are seeing across the country.

Why Is Fentanyl in Cocaine So Dangerous/Deadly?

Many people who use drugs like cocaine recreationally don’t use opioids regularly. People with substance use disorder may have a drug of choice, preferring only “uppers” like cocaine and meth. Other people with addiction may use a cocktail of drugs, especially to counteract one drug with unpleasant side effects.

Fentanyl is a silent killer; it’s white and easily added to pills or powders without detection.

The reason fentanyl can cause deadly overdoses is simple. If a person who accidentally takes the potent drug doesn’t use opioids, they have no tolerance to the drug. So it can quickly kill a person who doesn’t use opioids.

Another reason tainted cocaine is so dangerous is that its potency as an opioid is nearly 100 times as strong as morphine. As a result, ingestion can be harmful to even a regular heroin user.

Naloxone, the opioid reversal drug, can only reverse the effects of opioids. If a person who uses cocaine overdoses, there is no way to reverse the results of the cocaine. Often, it can cause a heart attack or other life-threatening issues, which can really only be handled by a first responder.

Harm Reduction / Overdose Prevention

There is no 100% way to avoid an overdose from illicit drugs. Drug dealers may buy their supplies from sources overseas, which often are tainted with fentanyl.

People with substance use disorder should carry Naloxone, the overdose reversal drug. Even if your drug of choice isn’t opioids, it’s a good thing to have around in case of accidental overdose or if an acquaintance or friend uses opioids. Some nonprofits also offer needle exchanges for intravenous drug users and fentanyl test strips, which are very useful in helping drug users recognize a tainted supply of drugs and make better decisions about their use.

If you or somebody you love suffers from addiction, harm reduction can help save a life. However, the only foolproof way to stay safe from overdose is getting clean and sober.  It's a way to reclaim the quality of life for people who are tired of suffering from addiction.

Getting Help for Addiction

Are you sick and tired of your addiction? Are you ready to reclaim your life? Substance use disorder is a disease that requires treatment. We can help you get started on the path to recovery. Give us a call at 619-363-4767 to learn more about your options. We offer a safe and compassionate environment to help you begin the journey.

Many people take prescription medications under the supervision of their doctors. However, some drugs that are prescribed have the potential for abuse. In addition, people who take these medications may not be aware of their addictive nature until it is too late. People with opioid use disorder, for example, often don’t realize the extent of their addiction until they try to stop using opioids and suffer severe withdrawal symptoms.

Legally obtained prescriptions are one of the most commonly abused drugs in America. While most drugs are meant to improve our quality of life or our health, some also have side effects that can cause misuse and lead to a substance use disorder.

What Prescription Drugs Are Addictive?

Any drug that can alter your state of mind, cause euphoria, or other pleasurable side effects can be addictive.

Who Abuses Prescription Drugs?

People of all ages have the potential to abuse prescription medications.

When a drug is addictive, there is always a potential for misuse when a doctor prescribes it. For example, it’s common for a person using an opioid for pain relief to take an extra pill or take their next dose early to get more of a euphoric feeling.

Sometimes, though, a person who misuses prescription drugs may not have been prescribed them. For example, adolescents who experiment with drugs might take medication from their mother or grandfather’s pill bottle when they are not looking. This scenario is why it is so important to properly dispose of opioids and other prescription drugs if you’re not using them.

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Misuse

People who are abusing substances will often change their behavior. For example, they may be more secretive or less talkative. In addition, young people who are using drugs will sometimes change their friend circle. They may have trouble getting to work on time, have financial issues, or even get in trouble with the law.

If a person is misusing prescription drugs, they may also display the following behavior:

Each drug, however, has its own side effects. For example, a person who is misusing Adderall may stay up all night for days, while a person who is on opioids may appear to be sleeping all the time.

You can learn more about prescription drug abuse on this blog and recognize the symptoms of addiction. In addition, information on specific prescription drugs can help you learn about the signs of misuse and the dangers or side effects.

Getting Help for Addiction

If you or somebody you love need help with a substance use problem, we’re here to guide you. Learn more about our programs and how we can help you get on the road to recovery by calling us at 619-363-4767.

 

 

If you or somebody you loved is arrested for a DUI in California, you’re probably wondering about what happens next. Do you need a lawyer? What are your options?

What A Lawyer Can Help With

If you are charged with a criminal offense like a DUI, you may be facing jail time. You’ll undoubtedly want to get an attorney who can help you navigate the justice system process. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you can apply for a public defender.

A DUI lawyer will help you understand the law, what you have been charged with, and what types of penalties you’re facing. They will also help you decide if a deal is in your best interest or if your case qualifies for programs such as diversion.

DUI Laws in California

The basic DUI law in California states that it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, and it is also unlawful to drive with a BAC of .08% or greater. Most people arrested for DUI end up getting charged for both crimes. If you have a minor in the car, cause an accident, or drive recklessly while under the influence of alcohol or other substances, there are more serious charges the state can make against you.

New California criminal justice reforms -- as of January 1, 2021 – have prioritized diversion for non-violent offenders. This is true for some felonies as well.

An attorney understands the ins and outs of DUI laws and is best equipped to help you get the best outcome.

DUI Diversion Programs in California

Diversion programs for non-violent offenders have become a priority in the criminal justice system in California. In a diversion agreement, a criminal defendant is given a list of goals and requirements to meet to have the charges against them dropped or lessened.

You and your defense attorney must request a diversion program, such as drug or alcohol treatment or therapy. If granted, the judge will pause your case in the court system. You must then complete the tasks you promised within a specific time frame.

You may be required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and attend classes on alcohol abuse. You may also have your driver’s license restricted and do a certain number of community service hours. With the help of an attorney, you can draft an agreement with the prosecutor that makes sense. Then, when it’s time, your lawyer will present the plan to a judge.

Make no mistake: a DUI can be a serious criminal charge with both criminal penalties (jail time) and fines. An attorney can help minimize these consequences and get help for your substance use disorder.

Getting Help for Addiction

If you or somebody you love has a substance use disorder, we’re here to provide compassionate care. A DUI or other criminal charge can be a symptom of addiction. We're here to help, not judge. Learn more about how we can help get you on the road to recovery by calling us at 619-363-4767.

A new drug combination called “benzo dope” has hit the streets of North America. The drug, which refers to benzodiazepine-adulterated opioids, has been increasingly linked to overdose deaths in British Columbia, Canada. It has also popped up in other parts of North America.

With benzo dope, drug dealers add benzodiazepines to a drug like fentanyl. Both drugs, especially to inexperienced users, can suppress respiration and cause overdose deaths. Naloxone, a life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug, doesn’t help reverse benzodiazepine overdoses. This is why overdoses are more likely to be fatal.

What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that are used as sedatives. Drugs like Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium are sometimes legally prescribed for people with anxiety disorders or muscle problems. However, they have a high potential for abuse, especially when someone drinks after taking them or uses them alongside other substances.

Benzodiazepines can cause physical addiction and withdrawal symptoms. When used with drugs such as heroin or Oxycontin, users are more likely to overdose. It is also quite dangerous to use benzos with alcohol.

When used together, benzos and fentanyl can cause a prolonged loss of consciousness, trouble breathing, and blackouts for the user, similar to the amnesiac blackouts of a person who has overdosed on alcohol.

Benzo Dope Takes Its Toll in British Columbia

British Columbia has been hit hard by the new drug combination. Authorities first learned of its existence when there were 30 drug overdoses over the space of a week in 2019.

During the pandemic, Benzodiazepines from April 2020 and April 2021, the combination of benzos and opioids, caused 60% of overdose deaths. At the same time, more and more opioids were discovered with benzo adulterants. It became so common that by April 2021, 25% of the samples were testing positive. Most users had no idea that they were ingesting more than fentanyl, which is a powerful drug that has caused many overdoses on its own.

What We Know About Benzo Dope

On the street, benzo dope has also been called “purple heroin.” However, it can vary in color.  It’s usually dark purple or blue and orange. Benzo dope is usually commonly smoked or inhaled, but users sometimes inject it as well.

The drug itself has caused overdoses in Michigan and a few other American cities, but it is most well-known in British Columbia, where it was first discovered.

In the samples from British Columbia, the most common benzo drug identified in benzo dope was etizolam. Etizolam is used in medicine in Japan, Italy, and India, but it has never been legal in the United States. It’s also a drug of concern – in Ireland, there is an onslaught of benzo addiction attributed to the drug. Etizolam is a highly addictive drug, nearly ten times as powerful as Valium, according to the DEA.

The drug doesn’t seem to be going away, either. Many overdoses caused by benzo dope last January - half of the 165 suspected drug overdose deaths in British Columbia - also involved benzos. The prior year that number was only 15%.

Benzo dope is just starting to make its way onto the streets of America, but hopefully, public health authorities will have the tools in place to recognize when it gets here and help mitigate the danger.

Getting Help for Addiction

If you or somebody you love needs help for addiction, it's available. We're here to help you get started. Learn more about overc0ming your addiction and starting to reclaim your life. Call us at 619-363-4767.

 

The benefits of residing in a sober living environment (SLE) are self-evident if you have recovered from a substance use disorder.  Living with other recovering people is helpful to avoid relapse.

It’s well known that long-term recovery is aided by extended treatment. For the purposes of this discussion, sober living is not technically treatment. However, it’s a crucial part of a recovering person’s life – the eight hours they spent sleeping and is also where they started and ended their day, in the sphere of influence of their roommates or family.

Testing and Accountability

A reputable sober living home will require regular testing, which should be facilitated by a house manager and given randomly.

The majority of sober living homes also require participation in support groups (usually 12-Step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous), and possibly tasks. These layers of accountability really add up, giving people a reason to stay sober and constant reinforcement for their continuing sobriety.

Supportive Peer Relationships

One great benefit of SLEs is that the residents bonds with each other. These bonds provide peer support and helps the individual throughout the period in early recovery when they are still experiencing Post Acute Withdrawals Syndrome (PAWS).

Longer Treatment Equals Better Outcomes

There's a strong correlation between longer-term treatment and better sobriety outcomes.  The sober living home is a crucial component to the recovering persons support system, and while not technically “treatment”, a crucial component to the life of any recovery individual.

Independent Recovery

The ideal goal for any recovering person is to be able to remain sober without any external help. However most people who start down the path of recovery take a liking to their support groups in many of the new processes and habits they developed.

A benefit of sober living is that it starts you down the path of building interpersonal connections, and strengthens your daily regimen of activities to support your long-term recovery when you are no longer in a recovery residence. When people eventually move back home (or to their own independent living space), they can still benefit from all the support groups and the connectors they made without any fees that are associated with treatment in the sober living.

Only One Piece of the Puzzle

Sober living by itself should not be considered as a guarantee against relapse. However, it is clearly a beneficial and supportive element that is too often overlooked by those who have completed a short period of residential treatment or managed to obtain a period of sobriety on their own.

The benefits of participating in a sober living house include:

Our San Diego Sober Living Helps Men Stay Sober

Are you or somebody you love interested in a sober living in San Diego? Learn more about the options we offer by calling 760-216-2077.

 

 

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