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Author Ricki Townsend is a Registered Interventionist, Drug/Alcohol Counselor, Ncac1, CADC-CAS, Bri-1, Chaplain and Grief Recovery Specialist

Substance Use Disorder is a brain disease that does not distinguish between drugs or alcohol. Any mood or mind-altering substance can re-trigger that chemical-dependency, so the answer is “No.” In fact, people who became dependent on pain pills, for example, need to avoid the wine sauce at the fancy restaurant. People in recovery for alcoholism need to be extremely watchful and vigilant when prescribed pain pills for a surgery. This is a life-long disease that can be kept in remission, but that requires avoiding any and all substances that could trigger a relapse.

At some State Fairs or game arcades, you might find a game called “Whack a Mole” which features little stuffed animals that pop up all over the game board. The goal is to push as many of them as possible back into their "dens," using a big paddle. They pop up quickly and are hard to whack.

Well, you are playing “Whack a Mole” when you think that alcohol wasn’t your problem or that drugs weren’t your problem. If you are chemically-dependent on one mood and mind-altering substance, you are vulnerable to all.

Those in recovery must always be on the lookout for mood-altering substances. If you are addicted to alcohol, then pot or pain pills or cough medicine are no better or safer. Playing "Whack a Mole" with your life can land you back in treatment – or worse.


Tags: Substance Use Disorder, relapse

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Treatment for addiction or alcoholism, while expensive, doesn’t guarantee results. Now, a novel approach to treating Substance Use Disorder is cutting costs and improving outcomes by coming into clients’ homes and lining up a year-long runway of support including a nurse, a primary care doctor, a therapist, peer support, 12-step meetings and a case manager. Learn how these recovery resources, plus medication-assisted therapy, drug tests and GPS devices are creating a home-spun tapestry of support for sustained sobriety.

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Well, it’s complicated. A new report shows that driving while on drugs was associated with more deaths in 2015 than driving with alcohol in one's system. The report, issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, summarizes the current state of knowledge on drug-impaired driving, including what little is known about the costs and effectiveness of these actions, and identifies actions states can take to reduce drug-impaired driving. In three of California’s largest counties, police are testing the equivalent of a “breathalyzer” for pot. The clock is ticking for a way to identify drivers who are impaired by marijuana: in November, voters approved Proposition 64 which legalizes recreational pot, and California will become the world's largest cannabis market when legalization takes full effect next year.

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This is a post from John Perry, Co-Founder, Clean & Sober Recovery Services, Inc.

When advising people on treatment options, our guiding light is the research showing that residential treatment offers the highest success rates. Why is that? Here's what we see working at the CSRS residential program:
•    Days full of personal growth work on anger management, cognitive behavioral therapy, relapse prevention and more.
•    Round-the-clock counselor and peer support for mood swings, self-doubt, fear and uncertainty.  
•    Easy access to the local recovery community via our daily visits to AA and NA meetings and Big Book studies.
•    The absence of outside triggers or temptations.
•    Structure and rules that support healthy attitudes and behaviors.
•    Nutritious meals designed to mend the body.

That being said, we understand that residential treatment is not possible for everyone. Maybe people can’t leave their day jobs, or perhaps they have childcare responsibilities.  That’s where the flexibility of an intensive outpatient program can come into play. We are on the verge of opening an outpatient treatment program just down the street, which will offer counseling sessions during the daytime or early evening. That flexibility will allow people to get help while still meeting family or work obligations.

Sometimes a treatment plan calls for a hybrid solution of sorts. For example, a person might start with one month in residential treatment and then transition to intensive outpatient counseling where their healing continues. For the best results, we encourage people in outpatient programs to make a sober living community their home during their time in outpatient treatment.

Either way, the overarching goal is to make sure people get enough treatment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that staying in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical to success. The research shows that most people need at least three months in treatment to break their chemical dependency on alcohol or other drugs.

Long story short: more time in treatment – whether inpatient or outpatient - is associated with better outcomes. CSRS is here to support your return to health, no matter which route you choose.


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The Professional’s Perspective is written by interventionist and family counselor Ricki Townsend.Ricki volunteers to run the Sunday Family Meetings at Clean & Sober Recovery Services.

The disease of addiction touches everyone in the family. The family unit loses normalcy as lying, stealing, manipulating and stress become the order of the day. And as much as you may think you are protecting other children in the family, even a young child notices that something is “off.” While you care deeply for your addicted loved one, you must protect the rest of the family until the addict chooses recovery.

Would you allow a stranger who makes you feel unsafe into your home? You need to have the same boundaries with your loved one; he or she cannot be in your home if intuitively you feel uncomfortable or threatened. Admittedly, my suggestions go against the grain of normal parenting where we trust our children. Yet a person who is abusing drugs or alcohol is not trustworthy, and the rules of normal parenting or family relationships do not apply.

Read more: The Professional’s Perspective On Healing The Family Disease Of Addiction Or Alcoholism

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