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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

There is a promise, with recovery, that somehow life will be solved, sorted, fixed by not using anymore.

Of course, when we put down the drink, or the prescription meds, or the illicit drugs, or the sex, gambling or food, we meet ourselves and our own lives head-on. There is a saying in the rooms of fellowship meetings, that we have to live life on its own terms, but this is something we have to learn as our recovery grows. The immediate aftermath of recovery, if I can put it like that, involves looking at ourselves as we really are, in whatever state we happen to be in. And most of the time, it isn't pretty.

So what happens if we come off, then find ourselves broke, isolated or in pain, as was the case for me?

When I went through the painful process of weaning off fentanyl lozenges, I was greeted by my own pain at the end of it. That was my 'prize' if you like. And I have to work hard every day to accept that pain and the limitations it places on my life.

I have to accept the tiredness, which sometimes feels like being hit by a truck, deadening and weighty. It floors me, and accepting that is very, very hard. We say in the rooms that acceptance is the 'golden key', but accepting life as it is, involves a process of grief. I had to mourn my pre-illness life, before being able to fully accept my lift as it really is today.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

We all speak 'from the heart' don't we? It's something I considered I did all the time. I never gave it much thought, but I assumed I was communicating with the people around me in my life, work and play, with truth and integrity.

That's where I was wrong.

I found out in rehab that I speak from the head, not the heart. And that's where it all went so horribly wrong. As they say in some of the recovery fellowships I attend, 'my best thinking got me into addiction'. I'd like to add that 'my best feeling got me into my recovery'.

I realised once the prescription drugs were taken away, that I was terrified of feeling anything. ANYTHING.

I didn't want to feel sad, angry, humiliation, fear, resentment, longing, grief. The list was endless. It also includes all the 'good' emotions such as love, happiness, joy, bliss, excitement, passion or fulfilment, because they were scary as hell.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

When Cate asked me to be the addiction 'expert' this month, I was seized with anxiety.Do I have anything to say? What if I can't think of anything to write? What if no-one wants to read what I have to say?

It took me a few minutes to realise I'd gone back into my default setting where it was all about me. As an addict, I am hell-bent on self-sabotaging most aspects of my life. The most pernicious aspect of this, though, is the way I make everything feel that it has to gravitate round me.

I see it with my toddler son. The world gravitates around him, and he expects it to with fierce determination. That's the stage he's at, and I know he'll grow and develop and leave that stage behind. But there is something about being an addict that speaks to me of arrested development.

That toddler stage never quite seems to go, however much work I do around it. That's why it's essential for me to speak to my sponsor daily, and attend all the recovery meetings I can. I need perspective. I need to hear, daily, that the world doesn't revolve around me, nor should it. I need to fess-up to myself when I am caught in that self-limiting cycle of introspection and fear.

That's why, today, I'm proud be here with addictionland, fessing-up to you all in the hope that it strikes a chord. This month, it's not all about me, it's about you, and the recovery journey you're on, and I feel blessed to be here to share it in some small way.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

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Struggles with anxiety and substance use problems often occur together, and as the authors of a new study point out, young adults seem especially prone to develop these disorders. Dixon, Stevens and Viana (2014) hoped to clarify the nature of the relationship between anxiety and substance abuse. They accomplished this by investigating whether anxiety sensitivity (AS) had an impact on the relationship between trait anxiety and substance use disorders. (Anxiety sensitivity is a term used to describe an individual’s level of fear about experiencing such anxiety-induced symptoms as increased heart rate, sweating, muscle tension and headaches. People with a great deal of anxiety sensitivity typically believe that such symptoms will lead to a terrible physical, social or mental outcome. On the other hand, trait anxiety refers to the characteristic amount of stress that an individual experiences.)

The researchers looked at AS in a large group of young adults (mean age 18.7 years) and did find that for those who had a great deal of anxiety sensitivity, use of illicit substances increased as trait anxiety  increased. This effect seemed most pronounced for those who feared an adverse cognitive or physical impact of their anxiety symptoms. The authors of the study suggested that “interventions should target AS reduction in anxiety-prone individuals to reduce and prevent substance abuse.”

What might these interventions look like?  Dr. Sharon Galor posted a thoughtful and concise description of anxiety sensitivity in which she described the typical approach to treating this problem.  She wrote that:

“During therapy sessions, clients receive psycho- education about anxiety sensitivity and its implications as well as learn to practice relaxation techniques. Furthermore, common CBT techniques of cognitive reconstruction and exposure are applied. Cognitive reconstruction aims to identify, challenge and reconstruct irrational and catastrophic thoughts that raise anxiety i.e. the belief in the high probability and a high catastrophic level of outcome that the physical symptoms can cause. Exposure helps clients to directly face the fear inducing and stressful stimuli, as well as to learn to eliminate safety behaviors.  Repeated exposure produces habituation that gradually reduces anxiety felt from the trigger. It has been found that the combination of these CBT techniques helps to treat anxiety sensitivity successfully.”

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Controversy swirls around the approval of Zohydro, a new narcotic pain reliever manufactured by Zogenix, Inc. Zohydro ER is an opioid containing hydrocodone in capsule form that is intended as an extended-release formula. Zohydro is also one of the only opioid pain relievers to contain only hydrocodone and no acetaminophen, which can cause liver damage. Zohydro isn’t the first opioid created to treat chronic pain, so why the fuss? For one thing, Zohydro packs a bigger punch than its counterparts, containing 50 milligrams of hydrocodone in one capsule as compared to 10 milligrams in one Vicodin pill. And unlike oxycotin which pills turn into a jelly-like substance when crushed, Zohydro is tamper-resistance and when snorted or injected it’ll end send an entire dose into the bloodstream simultaneously which can lead to overdose and death.

 

Did you know that every day in the United States, 100 people die from a drug overdose, and a large percentage of deaths are due to prescription drug overdoses, particularly prescription painkillers? 

La Paloma an treatment center that offers an integrated treatment plan for persons with substance abuse and/or co-occurring mental health disorders has created an article about Zohydro which goes into great detail about Zohydro as well as the following information:

-  Zohydro’ road toward FDA Approval including the actions by Deval Patrick (Governor of Massachusetts)  and Peter Shumlin (Governor of Vermont) to help mitigate the addition it can possibly cause.

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