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Category contains 2 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Drug Addiction

A friend writes to say he is feeling blue. He is not in recovery so his blues are not as dire as mine, but they are just as painful. When I ask what is wrong, he replies, “life.” Life – the whole befuddling catastrophe; he and I share a tragic worldview. I have written previously about the German word for such an existential crisis: weltschmertz – worldpain.

Eager to help, I dash off a breezy response about all we need to be grateful for that seems as brittle and unsubstantial as the falling leaves outside. The Buddha tells us that pain has four sources: Death, disease, old-age and poverty. These are what Siddhartha saw from his palace window that compelled his quest for the relief of suffering. Note that the first three are inevitable; the fourth, poverty, seems reparable, but I suspect the Buddha means despair a spiritual poverty that accompanies grinding want.

I have never been impoverished myself but am intimately acquainted with despair. When you have a true depression it is never far away, lurking on the periphery out of sight but never out of mind. Think of Prufrock’s yellow smoke rubbing its muzzle on the windowpane. Prufrock notes it in a lovesong, for surely wanting another invites suffering. How many others have I dreamed of, pursued, cherished briefly and lost? Smoke evaporates but leaves a scent behind. It is the lingering smell of longing that causes suffering or as the Buddha describes it . . . our attachments.

Last year I attached myself to a man, one who lives 1000 miles away and was clearly out of my league. He seemed interested, I fantasized, wondering if this was a person who could really know, who would finally see me for me. The secret places of the heart long for such recognition, to be seen as the self sees itself without blemish or flaw. Of course such a disembodied love is impossible; bodies meet where souls never do. Hence the lovesong, a paean not to one person but to the ineffable shadow that lives in our imaginations.

He went back to his perfect life. I hear that he has a new lover of over a year. His facebook page is studded with smiling selfies on exotic backgrounds. “In the room the women come and go talking of Michelangelo.”


Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Are people on Suboxone sober? With the opioid epidemic raging, the battle against heroin and opiate addiction continues to increase. The number of people entering treatment for opioid dependency continues to rise. The way the addiction industry, doctors, psychiatrists, and detoxes treat opioid addiction has shifted in the last decade.

The trend is leaning towards Medication-Assisted Treatment, specifically replacement therapy. Methadone, which has been around for decades, has been controversial in its effectiveness. Studies and results focusing on the long-term results of Methadone on abstinence from other opioids have varied. Arguments exists as well about whether Methadone can be abused or used to “get high”.

Two Sides to the Issue

This posts deals specifically about Buprenorphine, commonly prescribed as Suboxone or Subutex, and the questions it raises about medication and sobriety. As with most ‘controversial’ topics, there are two sides to the issue. First I will explain the stringent or sobriety purists view on people taking Suboxone. There are indeed people and members of 12 step groups who will claim that people on medication-assisted treatment, such as Buprenorphine are not sober. This has caused tension between addiction specialists, chronic pain patients, and recovery programs. Here is why some may believe that people taking Suboxone or Subutex are not actually sober.

Not Sober?

(Caution: These are not my own, nor NewBridge Recovery’s, personal opinions, and the views presented here are gathered from various outside sources) In the strictest sense of the word, sobriety is the continued absence of any psychoactive drug usage. Now Buprenorphine or Suboxone is a narcotic drug, as recognized by the medical and health community. It is a controlled substance and has a “high risk for addiction and dependence”. To be more specific, it is a partial opioid agonist, which means it affects the brain in many of the same ways that other narcotic opioids like hydrocodone and heroin do.

Human figure made out of pills running in fear from a monster made of pills. The monster is symbolic of the epidemic of overmedication, addiction to pain medications and the stronghold of pharmaceutical companies. Commentary on doctors’ willingness to prescribe drugs even when not necessary. Could show breaking free from the addiction.

Medications Can Lead to Mental and Physical Dependency


Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Regardless of what addiction treatment center you look into, there is bound to be some aspect of group therapy involved. In fact, I haven’t heard of a rehab facility that doesn’t include group therapy in one form or another. It can be casual, such as doing morning “check-ins” with the group and sharing about life events. Or it can be more detailed and involved such as group feedback therapy or interpersonal process therapy. The term “Group Therapy” is really a vague label, and the large amount of different levels and types of group therapy may surprise you. But does group therapy work with treating addiction? If it is such an integral part of virtually all professional treatment centers then it must be helpful, right?

Is Group Therapy for Me?


Many people can be resistant to group therapy. It is difficult enough to seek help and open up to family or a therapist, but a group of strangers? There are worries about identifying, with different demographics such as gender, age, religion, and more. It is common in addiction for people to become anti-social and to isolate from other people. Oftentimes we hide our feelings or are reluctant to talk to others about our addiction problems. Once the initial reluctance to participate in group therapy passes the person often experiences unexpected benefits from participation. Group therapy has been a core aspect of drug and alcohol addiction recovery for several decades, and it has proven to be very effective. Here are some reasons why anyone seeking treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction should consider participating in group therapy.

Benefits of Group Therapy


  • Building a Support Network: Being in a group therapy setting means having several other people cheer you on and help you set and achieve goals toward your drug or alcohol addiction recovery. Each person in the group should be able to relate to each others experiences and this removes any feeling of judgement or stigma for past behaviors or lifestyles. Instead of being judgmental or criticizing, most group therapy is filled with support and understanding.
  • Learn to Communicate Complex Feelings and Stress: In our active addiction we often internalize or “sweep our problems under the rug”. Rather than face unpleasant realities or confront someone with an issue, we just bury or ignore it. Group Therapy can be the most effective tool in getting people to improve their communication skills and break down the interpersonal barriers to connection with others.
  • Group Therapy Can Promote Social Skills: Groups not only help to ease that sense of isolation, but also give the opportunity to practice re-engaging with people,” Johnson says. By participating in a group, you see that you can get along with others, which can be a large part of a person’s start in recovery.
  • Group Therapy During Addiction Recovery Provides Accountability: One of the things a person quickly learns when attending group therapy sessions is that they are stronger together with their peers than they are aloneThis mutual responsibility is invaluable, because when one of the group members is in trouble and about to relapse they know that they can call on any of their peers to help them through a difficult moment.


Posted by on in Drug Addiction


The opioid epidemic of the last couple years has resulted in record-breaking drug fatalities and overdoses. As mentioned in previous posts, heroin use has skyrocketed over the last decade. Any more alarming is that fact that more drug dealers are mixing Fentanyl with heroin and selling in without the buyers knowledge. Fentanyl, reportedly 10 times stronger than heroin, has already been attributed to a massive spike in overdose victims with Fentanyl showing up in the toxicology report. Just two "salt-sized" doses of Fentanyl can kill a heavy opioid user.

States across the nation are battling not just increased heroin usage, but also dope cut with the cheaper and more potent fentanyl. Sounds like addiction professionals and law enforcement's worse nightmare right? A new synthetic drug, Carfentanil, is flooding the streets more deadly and dangerous than any of the aforementioned drugs. The ramifications of this lethal drug is making news across the north east and spreading fast.

"Officials in the Cincinnati area and in southern Indiana say that a synthetic drug, Carfentanil — 10,000 times as potent as morphine — could be tied to at least 189 overdoses across both states in the past week, resulting in at least four deaths in the states" - Katie Rogers NYT



Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Originally Posted @ 

Has treatment failed for you in the past? Having trouble staying sober? This information could make a huge difference… The Four Pillars of Addiction Treatment  are as follows:

  1. A Structured Treatment Program
  2. Medication-Assisted Treatment
  3. Family Involvement &Integration
  4. Recovery Network & 12 Step Support

Observation and experience has proven that these principles are paramount in successful long-term addiction treatment. Each pillar is important by itself, but for the recovering addict or alcoholic a firm recovery needs to incorporate all four pillars. What exactly are these pillars consisted of? More importantly, how do quality treatment centers like NewBridge Recovery provide clients with these tools?

The First Pillar: Structured Treatment Program

Early recovery can be a chaotic, emotional, and delicate situation. A healthy treatment regiment and a stable environment are conducive to recovery. By establishing an effective routine with planned out activities and groups, the treatment provider creates a comfortable and trusting place for recovery to occur. At NewBridge we structure our program to accommodate the individual. As recovery progresses, the treatment structure may change or adapt to meet the individual needs of each person.

The Second Pillar: Medication-Assisted Treatment

As I have written about recently, Medication-Assisted Treatment or MAT has really become an integral part of addiction treatment. Termed the new “Gold Standard” for treating opioid addiction, MAT can help people addicted to various substances. Medicines that reduce cravings and block narcotic effects can help aid in alcohol and opioid addiction. Other medications, non-addictive, can help with anxiety and insomnia. As more medications are developed to assist in addiction recovery, MAT is only going to become more wide-spread.


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