Many people who are in recovery have experienced depression. There are many ups and downs in early recovery. For some people, depression is a mental health disorder that needs to be treated by medications, therapy, or other clinical means.
People in your life may want to help you but not know how. They may expect you to “cheer you up” on-demand or try to get you to be social when you really don’t feel up to it. If you suffer from depression, you probably want to talk about it with your support network.
In recovery, depression can feel especially isolating if you don’t share what you’re going through with others. Yet recovering from depression is important! Doing so with the help of others can be very rewarding.
Sharing About Depression With Others
All conversations must start somewhere, but you may worry about how you can kick off a chat about your mental health. In addition, you may wonder if there’s a right way or a wrong way to approach the conversation.
There’s no wrong way, really, but you can do things to help yourself feel more comfortable.
Getting The Conversation Started
Understand that you aren’t obligated to tell anyone about your depression if you’re not comfortable doing so. That includes family, friends, and 12-step support members. Likewise, you’re allowed to keep some information about your life private if you choose to.
If you feel like certain people in your life won't understand will react poorly, the best thing is to protect yourself and do what you need to help yourself.
When you’re ready to talk about your depression, here are some tips on getting the conversation started:
- Choose a day where you’re feeling decent and feel like having a conversation.
- Decide how much information you plan to disclose. For example, you may want your friend to know that you’re depressed, but you may not be ready to announce what medications you’re taking.
- Start by asking somebody you trust – whether it’s a partner, parent, sponsor, or friend – if they can take some time to talk.
- Make sure you go to a place you feel comfortable having a private conversation. For example, maybe you prefer a living room to a coffeehouse or vice versa.
- Decide what help your support person can provide, if any. For example, your loved one will probably want to help you if you’re experiencing depression. Do you want to be able to call them when you’re experiencing insomnia? Or do you need help finding a therapist that takes your insurance? Letting your loved ones know what, if any, assistance they can provide is important.
- Rehearse the conversation in your head if you’re nervous. You can even write down your talking points in case you forget.
- Don’t debate somebody who believes certain stereotypes or thinks that mental illness “isn’t real”; instead, shut the conversation down and practice self-care.
Mental Health, Depression and Addiction
Mental health disorders like depression are common among people who have experienced addiction. Many people describe substance use as a way to “self-medicate” or “feel normal.” However, when a person gets sober, they may feel the symptoms of depression or more intensely.
In treatment, you also may find you need help coping with depression or another mental health disorder. Again, this is a good thing – getting help for a mental health disorder can help you reclaim your life and feel better in general!
Getting Help for Addiction
If you or somebody you love needs help with a substance use disorder, we’re here to guide you. Many of our clients also have co-occurring disorders like depression or generalized anxiety. We can help you get the most out of recovery and make a plan for success. Get in touch!
As the world re-opens, many people are experiencing a range of emotions, from grief to excitement or fear. It’s an emotional time for everyone! After all, many people have felt isolated and lonely. There have been a lot of things we’ve all gone through as a result of the pandemic, and no two people’s pandemic experience was precisely the same. Now, many people are vaccinated and able to mingle in person again.
Staying sober as the world re-opens may be a challenge for people new to sobriety. It’s exciting, frightening, and a time to celebrate! But, unfortunately, all of the emotions also can be triggers to drink or use substances. So how can you make sure your re-opening experience is safe and sane?
Getting Plugged Back Into In-Person Recovery
Many parts of the US, including California, are having in-person 12-step meetings. Some meetings are even taking place outside when the weather is nice. So, as you resume your in-person way of life, getting into the groove of going to 12-step meetings in person is essential.
Recovery is the most crucial part of your life – the rest of it won’t stay together if you lose it. Keep this in mind when you’re planning your social life. Hang out with people who are sober and support your recovery. On the other hand, don’t give in to the temptation of re-connecting with old friends who may still be using drugs.
Avoid Triggering Situations
As the world re-opens, there will be more temptations than ever. This summer, it seems everyone is experiencing nostalgia. Many people had their favorite restaurants close or favorite businesses shutter. Things aren’t the same as they were in 2019, but they are certainly better than they were in 2021.
You may feel nostalgia is a good excuse to revisit old haunts, but that’s your disease talking. It’s not safe to seek out old people, places, or things related to your life when you were using drugs.
Make a plan to avoid triggering situations. If you’re feeling tempted to drink or use drugs, contact somebody in your support system or go straight to a 12-step meeting. Having a support system with other people in recovery can help you stay sober, even when you’re feeling bad.
Getting Help for Addiction
Do you or somebody you love need help with a substance use disorder? Recovery is possible! Reach out to get the help you need by contacting us at 619-363-4767.
Many people understand that alcohol is addictive. While some people can binge drink every once in a while, others have a compulsion to continue drinking no matter what. Alcohol use disorder, once called alcoholism, has been a confusing disease to study.
How Alcohol Affects the Brain
Why do some people who abuse alcohol can quit easily, while other people are driven to continue drinking no matter what? Science and psychiatry have been searching for a definitive answer for years. The disease model has been proven in many small ways.
We know for sure that people with addictions have changes in the brain. For one thing, when people drink, the brain releases dopamine, a "feel-good" neurotransmitter. Dopamine, in essence, is the pleasure center of your brain. When you drink, your brain also releases serotonin, another neurotransmitter. Seratonin can cause a numbing, feel-good effect as well.
The Discovery of THIQ
Research by a medical scientist named Virginia Davis introduced more evidence for the disease model of alcoholism when she discovered THIQ in alcohol-addicted brains. The chemic THIQ, also known as tetrahydroisoquinoline or THIQ, typically was a byproduct of heroin use. As heroin breaks down in the system, it creates THIQ.
Ms. Davis was researching the human brain and cancer. For her studies, she often researched using the brains of homeless people who were usually alcoholics. (This was the 1970's, and she would get access to corpses of these men and women soon after death. Laws about such things were different back then!)
One day, when researching the brain's chemicals, she discovered that the alcoholics had a chemical in their brain that had previously only been seen in heroin addicts. When she mentioned this to her colleagues, they laughed at the idea. Most of these corpses were "skid row" drinkers, and there was no way they could afford a heroin habit as well. Yet there they were, with a chemical that previously had only been manufactured by the brain when a person was on heroin.
THIQ and Alcohol Addiction
Today, we now know that people with opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder have chemical reactions in the brain that make them addicted. It's also true that not everyone has these chemical reactions in their brains. Science hasn't yet discovered why one person may become addicted, and another can use alcohol or even binge drink and then walk away.
While science is still looking for a genetic cause, the fact of the matter is that recovery is possible no matter the mechanism of becoming addicted.
While your brain may be chemically addicted to alcohol, it's possible to detox, get, and stay sober. Recovery is possible no matter who you are or how much you drank.
Getting Help for Alcohol Addiction
If you or somebody you care about has an alcohol problem, help is available. Recovery is a journey that starts with reaching out and admitting you need help. Together, we can plan your treatment and help you get started. Give us a call at 619-363-4767 to learn more about how we can help!
The pandemic has made life difficult for millions of Americans. Economic depression, lost jobs, and despair alongside the pandemic's isolation have caused more drug use than ever. Sadly, across the United States, fentanyl is causing overdoses at record levels. In San Diego County alone, there are currently three deadly overdoses a day. The opioid crisis hasn't been this bad for four years, and experts worry that addiction is snowballing quietly.
Fentanyl Contaminates Supply Chains
Researchers have sounded an alarm for the past few years about the rise in overdose deaths involving fentanyl. The majority of overdoses now involve the drug, which is 50-100 times as powerful as Morphine. Overdoses that involve fentanyl are usually deadlier because of the potency of the drug.
For people who have an opioid use disorder, there are many risks to take when buying drugs. Regular drug supply chains are strained, and China has outlawed the manufacture of oxycodone (aka Oxycontin) and fentanyl. Because of this, chemists that rely on illicit drug sales have been offering fentanyl either as an adulterant or alternative to other opioids. Chinese drugmakers funnel fentanyl through the Mexico border, and from there, it makes its way into heroin, Oxy, and other street (and internet) drug dealers.
Addiction More Prevalent, Support is Key
Coroners believe that most of the overdoses that they are seeing are accidental. People who have relapsed from recovery are already more likely to use more of a drug than their body can handle. Now, they can fall victim to isolation and a relapse cycle. Some people end up self-medicating their mental health disorders too.
Harm reduction advocates recommend that family members of people with an opioid use disorder or other addiction know the signs of an overdose. Keep Narcan (an opioid overdose reversal drug) in the house. There are even test strips that can help drug users test their supply for fentanyl. Ask to speak to family members you love via video and set up times to check-in.
There IS help available for people who need it. Offer support and love and even help find resources, such as a therapist or inpatient program for substance use disorders.
Getting Help During a Pandemic
Getting help for addiction during a pandemic starts with the same step as always – reaching out! We're here to help you create a new journey and plan your next steps. You're powerless over your addiction, but you can help yourself start a path to recovery.
Give us a call at 619-363-4767 to learn more about your options.
If you or somebody you love is facing a second DUI charge in California, there are probably many things going through your head right now. Of course, getting a reasonable attorney and being cooperative is essential. But how much are the fines for a second DUI? And what other issues might a person convicted of a second DUI face?
California Second DUI Law
California DUI laws are some of the most stringent in America. They are serious about preventing accidents due to impaired driving, and they’re willing to throw the book at a person who hasn’t learned their lesson yet.
If you decide to drive drunk after your first DUI, you can face the following with your second DUI charge:
- Fines and penalties will cost between around $400 and usually up to $2000.
- Three to five years of summary probation and no less than 96 hours in jail.
- If you haven’t finished the terms of your first DUI charge, you will face penalties for the rest of that sentence as well.
- You may have to go to up to 15-30 months of DUI school, which you will also pay fees out of your own pocket to complete. The costs for second offenders cost $1500-3000 dollars, according
- If you are allowed to drive again, you’ll have to pay money to have your driver’s license reinstated and install and rent an ignition interlock device.
If you’re thinking of drinking and driving, it’s just not worth it to get a second DUI. If you can’t control your drinking and poor decisions you make when you drink, you may need to get help for an alcohol use disorder. A second DUi will often just lead to a third or fourth.
Alcohol is Addictive
A second DUI is often the symptom of a greater problem. Alcohol addiction can lead to more than just a DUI. It can cost relationships, families, and careers. Alcohol use disorder is a term to describe people who are addicted to alcohol or can’t control their alcohol use. People with alcohol use may binge drinking, day drink, or drink intermittently. They may black out or make a poor choice when they drink.
There are a lot of people who make poor choices due to their relationship with alcohol. If you’ve made a few mistakes, that doesn’t mean you have to continue down that path!
You don’t have to hit bottom to start recovery. You can avoid a lot of pain and misery, heal from your past, and start living your life through recovery. You don’t have to lose relationships, jobs, or even your freedom due to your use of alcohol or other substances.
An inpatient treatment program can help you reclaim your life and start to live alcohol-free. You’ll improve your relationships and learn how to live an authentic, serene life in recovery.
We can help you begin to transform your life and achieve long-lasting sobriety. Learn more about how we can help you get started by calling 619-363-4767.
Now that you have the time (especially in the age of COVID), you can make sure that you also practice self-care. Self-care can help you cope with stress and negativity, too. Getting and staying sober is an adventure, just like life! Addiction is only a small part of who you are. Exploring your creativity in recovery can help you connect to those other parts of yourself.
It may have been a long time since you were asked to be creative. Creativity is about making things and enjoying yourself. Learning to let go and just be creative is a part of recovery, too. There are a lot of ways you can use art and creativity as a way to explore your emotions and enhance your recovery.
Getting Creative and Letting Go
Many people who enjoy art say that they like to work with music. Music is a great way to set the mood. If you want to try your hand at something creative, we’ll explore some small projects soon. First, find a private spot (unless you want to do your art with others) and make sure you have space to spread out your materials. Is there enough light? If the weather is good, you can even go outside, but weigh down your lightweight materials with a rock.
Art materials are everywhere if you’re ready to think creatively. You can use magazines, paints, newspaper, markers, poster board, cardboard, and even items from nature.
Art Project Ideas to Start With
Art is a form of therapy that you can use for self-care. It can help relax you and help you express emotions that you may have trouble verbalizing. It can also be a tool for venting frustration, anger, or sadness. You can also use art to help inspire yourself. Here are three art projects to try:
- Make a vision board. A vision board is a collage usually made from poster board and cut-outs from magazines, newspapers, etc. Vision boards illustrate goals, hopes, and thoughts. Think about what you want in the future? How do you hope your life is when you’re one year sober? Are five years sober? What goals are you working on right now, and what does accomplishing them look like or feel like?
- Draw or paint your addiction like it is a monster. Use whatever materials you like. Why does your monster look this way? What would the hero look like if you depict them, too? How can the hero slay this monster?
- Draw or paint your “safe space.” Everyone should have a place in their memory or imagination to escape to when they’re feeling scared or overwhelmed mentally. If you have trouble sleeping or feel anxiety, this is the place you want to imagine. Put it next to your bed, and make sure to think about it and remember the details.
Getting Help for Addiction
Do you or somebody you love need help with their alcohol or substance use? Help is available! We are here to help you reclaim your life, even in the era of COVID-19. Some things have changed, but we are still here to help you get clean and sober. Give us a call to learn more about how we can help you at 619-363-4767.
Many people new to recovery show up to detox or treatment with reservations. You may feel nervous, angry, or alone in your first days of recovery. “Do I belong in recovery?” is a question that you might ask yourself when you start to focus on the differences between yourself and other people in recovery. This reservation -- believing that you’re not like everyone else -- is a way your mind can trick you into relapse. This trick is why comparing insides, not outsides, is vital in recovery.
If you used substances and continued to use them despite adverse consequences, you belong. Anyone who has trouble controlling their use of substances is welcome in recovery.
“Othering” Will Hold You Back From Growth
Addiction does not discriminate; people from all walks of life can end up with a substance use disorder. That may mean that when you’re in a therapy group or 12-step room, the people in the room with you may not look like you. They may wear different clothes, have different skin colors, be other genders, etc. Diversity is beautiful, but you may not be thinking of that when your mind is trying to trick you into using. Instead, you may start to believe you don’t belong.
“Othering” people is a way to discriminate and shut down from listening when you’re in a group setting. But humans are more than their clothing, the way they talk, the money they have or their origins. You may think because a person comes from a different background, they have no experience to offer you. You’re unique, special, and nobody quite understands you. It can be easy to say, “I’m not like the others” when you’re looking for an excuse to relapse.
Your brain may tell you that if you’re not like everyone else, then maybe your addiction isn’t like theirs, either. This is a blatant lie that can set you up for relapse.
Comparing Inside, Not Outsides
Addiction has the same symptoms (a burning desire to get high or drunk, and an inability to control your substance use) for everyone. Recovery, therefore, is for anyone willing to put in the work to stay sober.
When you’re at a meeting or in a group and feel like you don’t belong, it’s time to close your eyes and listen. Much of your early time in recovery will probably be spent listening. When you listen, you’re not paying attention to what a person looks like. You’re listening for feelings, which are things in common for all human beings.
Listening to Others
Addiction is a disease that involves feelings and compulsion. You may hear stories of pain and failure, triumph, and peace – there are so many aspects of addiction and recovery that newcomers need to hear and understand. You’ll probably hear some stories of addiction you can relate to – but you’ll also get the chance to listen to stories of recovery that you can hope for, too.
Start listening to people and stop looking for ways to “other” them. If it means closing your eyes for the first few months, you’re sober, so be it. It’s important to realize that you’re all human beings in this together – and sometimes the only way to listen is to stop comparing your outsides, and start listening to what people are feeling and experiencing on the insides.
Getting and Staying Sober
Everyone starts somewhere in recovery. You probably have questions about how to get the help you need or whether it’s available during the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is YES, we are here for you and ready to help. Pick up the phone and call us at 619-363-4767.
Stress has always been a part of everyday living. In modern times, we’re more stressed than ever. Whether we’re worried about a public health crisis, studying for an exam, or learning to simply live without the use of substances, life is full of stress. The way that you cope with that stress, as a newcomer to recovery, is very important. One easy skill to begin using today is the art of self-care.
What is Self Care?
Self-care is a term used to describe things we do that soothe our mind and spirit throughout the days and weeks. It’s not a complicated coping skill, but it is vital. As an addicted person, you may have trouble putting this skill into use.
If you incorporate self-care into your daily life, you’ll be rewarded with less stress. Stress can take a toll on your body, mind, and spirit. But doing something as simple as taking a bath with Epsom salts after a long hard day of work can help you recharge in unexpected ways. Taking this time to reward yourself and slow down can help you get up the next morning feeling prepared to face the world again.
Self-care can be used to describe any wholesome activity that makes you feel better. As long as it doesn’t hurt you or somebody else, and helps you calm down, you can count it as self-care. (Things that ARE harmful to you, such as vaping tobacco or participating in compulsive sexual activities are NOT a part of self-care.)
Self-Care Activities to Try
Not sure what helps you feel better at the end of a long day or week? Here are some suggestions that you can try out. Keep what works, and forget about what doesn’t:
- Drawing or painting. Many people in recovery have an artistic side. It’s a creative and productive way to express your emotions.
- Riding a bike. Bike rides are great for getting your endorphins flowing to help balance out your stress hormones.
- Going for a nature walk. The calm of nature combined with the exercise benefits can help you focus and enjoy the moment.
- Yoga or stretching. During times of stress, your body may clench and muscles get sore. Proper stretching can help relieve this physical embodiment of stress.
- Listen to music and dance. Like is often said, “dance like no one is watching.” Enjoying music this way may feel silly, but when you were a child you probably loved to act this way. Embrace that child-like side of yourself.
- Take a long bath – either with Epsom salts or bubbles.
- Bake some cookies to share. Food brings people together, and the act of cooking is something many people find refreshing.
- Play and cuddle with a pet. Studies show that petting or brushing a pet for 15 minutes actually helps lower our blood pressure.
- Read a book. Immersing yourself in fiction can be a great way to de-stress for half an hour or so.
You may have other hobbies that aren’t listed above. Feel free to choose something other than the suggestions here. Life is an adventure, and finding new types of self-care is rewarding. You have plenty of time to explore now that you’re clean and sober.
Getting Help for Addiction
Do you or a loved one have a problem with addiction? There is no better time than now to get help for it. Let us help you reclaim your life. We offer a safe, compassionate environment to begin the recovery journey. We can help you detox and decide your next steps in an empathetic home-away-from-home. To learn more about our facilities please contact us at 619-363-4767.
As of right now, Present Moments Residential and Intensive Outpatient Programs are open and accepting clients.
Please note, out of an abundance of caution, we are canceling outside meetings, as well as professional tours and staff travels.
We will continue to follow directives from the CDC for next steps as to what precautions to take and how to evolve our treatment protocol. Our clinical and executive team are monitoring the situation closely and we are able to make necessary adjustments in real-time.
These are some of the precautions we are taking to keep our clients and staff safe:
- Increased sanitization of our facilities for infection control. We have increased cleaning and maintenance for a complete thorough wipe down of all facilities and common areas. Staff has been instructed to perform routine disinfection of surfaces and other areas where infection can be transmitted, i.e., doorknobs, light switches, etc.
- Posted informational signs on proper hand-washing techniques and hand sanitizing in common areas
- Re-fresher training for employees on handwashing and hand sanitization measures.
- Instituted screenings for visitors. Anyone deemed a possible risk to our clients or staff will not be allowed at the Treatment Center.
- An additional screening process for potential admissions that includes questions about symptoms, recent illnesses, travel overseas, and family or friends who have symptoms or traveled abroad.
- Upon admission, all clients are always evaluated in person by our Medical Doctor to further reduce the possibility of the introduction of a virus into the treatment environment. Current clients will continue to receive bi-weekly evaluations from our trained staff.
- Developed specific health and safety protocols for any clients presenting with flu-like symptoms, including emergency isolation protocols.
- Dispersed flu/COVID-19 prevention information and instructed staff to stay home if they are sick per CDC recommendations. Staff who report to work ill will be sent home in accordance with these health guidelines.
- Instructed all clients to report any symptoms to staff immediately no matter how mild.
- Temporarily divert client outings (this includes outside meetings) - alternative & virtual options are being made available
The safety of our residents and staff is our top priority and we will continue to assess this situation and provide updates.
Creating new friendships in recovery is a vital part of living a sober lifestyle. One of the first and most difficult decisions when you first get sober is giving up old people, places and things. It’s not safe to be around people who are using drugs or talking about their lifestyle. You may worry that you’ll be lonely or have nothing to do when you’re sober. Your brain may tell you that you’re alone in your battle against addiction, but nothing can be further from the truth. Building new relationships and trust can take time.
How Can You Meet New People?
12-step meetings are a great place to find others for friendship and support. But you don’t have to limit your friendships to people at your meetings.
You can choose to branch out and explore new hobbies and friendships. Here are a few suggestions to get started:
- Explore old hobbies. Before you began abusing substances, what kinds of activities gave you joy? Was there something you loved to do as a child that you can now pick up as an adult? Join a Meetup group online or take a local class. You’ll learn to have fun and meet others who share that interest.
- Join a group. There are groups of people in recovery that like to share their hobbies. Sometimes they host events. Ask around about movie nights, jogging groups, or surfers that like to meet up together.
- Travel to meetings. Sometimes it’s fun to get out of your normal routine and explore 12-step meetings. If you live in a city, try to get out to the suburbs now and then.
- Go to events. Many areas host events for the holidays. Dances, potlucks, and parties are a regular part of many recovery communities.
Networking With Others
First of all, it’s important that you choose your network of friends wisely. It’s ok to have friends that are new to recovery like you, but you need old-timers to help you become stable. It’s also highly recommended that you don’t date in your first year of sobriety so that you can focus on yourself.
Listen to the meetings you go to. When you meet a person that you find inspiring, ask them if you can get their phone number. Of course, you can ask about their Facebook in most cases if they’re comfortable with that.
If you’re struggling to meet new people in recovery, speak up at a meeting and introduce yourself. Let people know that you’re new and you want to meet new people. Everyone needs as many friends as they can get.
If you really want new friends, you must be a friend, too. Text your new contacts and ask them how they're doing. If you're bored, invite them to hang out with you. Friendship is a two-way street.
Getting Help for Addiction
Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction? You’re right where you need to be. Getting clean and sober is a journey that most people need help with. We offer a comprehensive rehabilitation program to help get your mind, body, and spirit healthy again. For more information on how we can help you, please give us a call at 619-363-4767.