Why is Getting Sober Scary, Even Though Life is on the Line?

Why is Getting Sober Scary, Even Though Life is on the Line?

You may be at the point where you realize you are an addict, that your addiction is unsustainable, and that you need treatment. You may know without a doubt that something has to change, but you may still be scared of sobriety. Many people feel this way. Getting sober is a big life change and that is always scary. The following are some common fears people have when preparing to leave addiction behind.

I might fail.

It’s true you might fail. Many people relapse, sometimes repeatedly before they are able to stay in recovery long-term. When you go into treatment, you are making a clear commitment and that creates expectations. It’s not like when you tell yourself you are going to quit and then you relapse but it doesn’t really matter because no one noticed you tried.

Going into treatment means people will have hopes and expectations for you and you will be afraid to disappoint them. It’s a lot of pressure, especially if you are aware of how little control you have over your addiction. Whenever you are afraid of failing in sobriety, keep two things in mind: without trying, your addiction will only get worse, and if you fail, you can always try again.

I will never have fun again.

For years, your idea of fun has been tied to the drug, both how it made you feel and the things it let you do that you wouldn’t do sober. It has probably been the only thing you have looked forward to. You have forgotten about the things you used to enjoy and it’s difficult to imagine the new things you will enjoy while sober.

This is true to some extent. Few things in life are as intensely pleasurable as getting high. Here, it’s important to recognize that there is a difference between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure is passive and temporary. Happiness is long-term and requires some effort. Drugs are pleasurable but addiction leads to misery. If you switch your focus to happiness rather than pleasure, you will feel better in the long run.

I’ll have to live with myself.

Chances are that you started using to escape something–bad thoughts, bad feelings, bad memories. Using made those things go away, at least temporarily. If you quit, you’ll be stuck with whatever it was you wanted to escape. Forever. That’s a scary possibility. Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with it alone. Therapy, both one-on-one and group, is a central part of treatment. You will have to face your problems, but with time and practice, you can overcome them.

I’ll lose my friends.

You may lose a few friends. Even friends who are good friends, and not just drug friends might drift away if you can’t spend time together in the same places, doing the same things. This will be hard at first, but in the long run it will be fine. You will make new friends in treatment and at meetings. You will reconnect with old friends who disappeared when your drug use got out of control. Eventually, you might reconnect with your friends who still use, and maybe even help them get sober.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We specialize in detox and getting you started in treatment that works best for you. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

Can You Buy Drugs Online?

Can You Buy Drugs Online?

Since the introduction of the internet, law enforcement agents have struggled to stay on top of varying online trends.  The craze when the internet first came out was chat rooms.  Many people were blown away they could anonymously talk to others while sitting in the comfort of their own home.  As the internet started to evolve, offenders found ways of committing crime online, but later learned their virtual activity could be tracked.  Since then, there has been a complete underground world invented for people to participate in illegal activity without getting caught.

While everyone knows a black market exists for people to purchase various illicit items off the street, some may not be aware that a complete digital market also subsists.  The world of DarkNet is as it sounds, a dark place where scandalous and illegal activity happen invariably.  A person can purchase or sell drugs, firearms, pornography, and children, all without being detected by law enforcement.  The disgusting reality is that the DarkNet perpetuates some of America’s biggest problems, and the people responsible are virtually untouchable.

First off, the only thing a person interested in ordering drugs online needs to do is download a browser called Tor, which makes it impossible for your activity to be traced.  Through this browser, there are several websites you can access by searching for your particular substance of choice.  Believe it or not, there are competitors in this digital black market with many vendors to decide upon.  Ross William Ulbricht previously ran the largest company until his arrest in 2013.  

The DarkNet uses cryptocurrency for all transactions, so there is money trace.  Bitcoin is the most common use of currency in the digital black market.  You can convert your USD into Bitcoins, and it is all done anonymously.  Many people also make the decision to filter their coins through a tumbler, which essentially means you exchange your coins with others to make them further untraceable.  A package, a variable amount of time later, will then be delivered to your doorstep.  

Addicts might opt for the DarkNet because they think it’s a safe way of buying drugs without dealing with any shady drug dealers.  Yet, the individuals who participate in the digital black market are some of the most menacing and smart people you will come across, and they have your address.  The way technology has advanced over the years has perpetuated addiction tremendously.  There’s no such thing as buying drugs safely.  Drugs are not safe.  If you are attempting to enter the shady underground world of drug trafficking, you are likely an addict and should seriously consider seeking professional help.

If you are ready to leave active addiction behind, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We can help you detox and figure out what program of treatment is right for you. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

Why Do We Celebrate Binge Drinking in the Media?

Why Do We Celebrate Binge Drinking in the Media?

Drinking is not new, but drinking in mass media is, relatively speaking. Mass media depictions change the way we think about drinking–how we behave, what we drink, and how much. What people often don’t realize is that most media depictions of drinking are actually marketing. This is problematic because brewers and distillers want you to buy as much of their products as possible and they aren’t concerned with the effects of drinking on your health or life.

It makes sense then, that binge drinking in the media is often a display of conspicuous consumption. Consider, for example, Jay-Z ordering Cristal at the club. A bottle of Moet costs about 50 dollars, while a bottle of Cristal costs about 300–and who knows what the club charges. Is the Cristal really six times better than the Moet? Of course it isn’t, but everyone can see that gold bottle from across the room and they will know that 550 dollars means nothing to you.

Spending money on alcohol, especially fancy alcohol, is an especially effective status symbol because for one thing, it’s shared among your friends, making you a good person to know, and for another, it’s consumed in a matter of hours. It’s not like spending money on an expensive car or house that will retain most of its value. Used champagne is worth less than nothing.

Another common depiction is the cool guy or gal. This is The Most Interesting Man in the World, or it’s Marion drinking Belloq under the table in Raiders of the Lost Ark. No one is actually like James Bond or Don Draper, but everyone wants to be, so in addition to a fancy watch and a nice car, they always have a drink in their hands. Yet they never seem drunk, but always in control. This is reflected in alcohol sales. Dr. No massively increased the popularity of vodka, and Mad Men revived mid-century cocktails and increased sales of Canadian Club whisky. In general, if some media depiction of alcohol makes you want alcohol, that is by design.

Sometimes, media depictions of binge drinking is more mirror than marketing. This is often true of comedies, which usually bear more resemblance to real life than James Bond does. These often fall into the “I got drunk and did something stupid” category. The Hangover is a good example, or Bridesmaids. We can relate to the characters’ distress because we have been in a similar situation, but we can laugh because it’s not happening to us. Sometimes we are meant to marvel at a character’s crude excess, like Animal House’s John Blutarsky–a character we’ve all met at some point–or Raul Duke and his attorney in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Of course, these depictions have their limits, beyond which they would no longer be funny or exciting. Raul Duke never crashes into a car full of children and no one in The Hangover chokes to death on his own vomit. This gives the impression that even if things get a little out of hand, nothing too serious can go wrong. So while these kinds of movies stop short of glorifying binge drinking, they help perpetuate the idea that it’s a common–and sometimes expected–thing that happens without major consequence.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We specialize in detox and getting you started in treatment that works best for you. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

5 Ways You Can Help Someone with an Opioid Addiction

5 Ways You Can Help Someone with an Opioid Addiction

Opioid abuse has swept the country over the last decade and turned into a national emergency.  The death toll appears to be ever increasing, with opioid related fatalities reaching an all time high of 91 per day.  Opioid addiction seems to be in everyone’s backyard.  If you don’t have an addiction, chances are you know someone who does.  Often times, people who have loved ones with addiction do not know how to help them, so here are 5 things you can do to support them:

 

Learn about their disease.  

Yes, what’s happening to them is a disease.  Opioid addiction causes severe obsessions, and typically the cravings are so intense a person uses to make them go away.  Opioids are highly addictive, and can cause painful withdrawals if they are stopped abruptly.  A person who has an opioid addiction may want to get clean, but they are afraid it will be too painful.  

Offer support.  

Providing support to a person in the depths of addiction can be mentally and emotionally exhausting.  You want to help them, but they usually don’t want it, so the only way you know how to help is by enabling them.  Addiction to any substance is expensive, and it’s likely an addict may need to “borrow” money at some point.  Most family members will give their loved one with an addiction anything they want, because they are afraid of how they will react if you tell them no.  It’s very important to note, you are not helping them by enabling them.  You are prolonging their addiction by giving them what they want.  Start practicing saying no.

Find treatment.  

It is likely if you offer treatment to someone with an addiction, they won’t want to hear it.  When you are addicted to any substance, you must be completely ready and willing to get clean, or it won’t last.  Finding a treatment center you believe will work for them is a good idea, though, that way when they’re ready to go, you have all the information ready to call.  

Learn the signs of addiction.  

If you suspect your loved one might be addicted, learning the symptoms of what that looks like will be useful.  Someone under the influence of opioids will appear to be in a euphoric and relaxed state.  Their speech might be slurred and they will have very shallow breathing.  It’s possible for them to experience nausea and they will usually have contracted pupils.  If they are coming down from opioids, they may be extremely irritable and even aggressive, and will likely be in physical pain.

Help them prevent relapse.  

If your loved one has gone through treatment and gotten clean from opioids, the first year of their recovery is critical.  Sixty percent of people relapse, so creating a healthy sober environment for them is imperative.  Encourage them to communicate their feelings and don’t enable them.  Applaud their progress and don’t bring up the past.  Opioid addiction is one of the most complicated and difficult addictions to overcome, and being present and supportive to them speaks volumes.  

 

If you are ready to leave active addiction behind, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We can help you detox and figure out what program of treatment is right for you. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

Why Do Some Days Feel So Hard?

Why Do Some Days Feel So Hard?

Some days are harder than others. Some days you wake up feeling good and everything goes smoothly. Some days you can’t brush your teeth without poking yourself in the eye. Then it gets worse from there. Most days are somewhere in the middle.

In the beginning, more days will be toward the hard end of the spectrum. You’re adapting to a lot at once. You may still be getting the drugs out of your system and feeling withdrawal symptoms. You may take a while to recover from the physical stress of addiction. You have to deal with a lot of uncertainty. For a long time, much of your life was structured around using, and now you have to figure out a new way to live. That requires some trial and error, and at first there will be a lot of errors. Not every medication or therapy or coping strategy works for everyone and it will take some time to figure out what works best for you.

You have to do all this while dealing with cravings, fear of relapse, and possibly your normal responsibilities. It might feel like repairing a ship under sail. The conditions aren’t stable, but you have to try anyway.

On any given day, you might face an unexpected challenge. Or you might face several. The days when several bad things happen–some of which you may have caused yourself–are the days when it feels like everything is coming apart. You feel like it’s just too much and nothing will ever get better. This is when it’s important to remember that how you feel now is only a feeling. Yesterday, it felt like nothing could go wrong, and today, it feels like nothing can go right. Tomorrow or the next day will feel better and in hindsight today won’t seem so bad.

Good routines and good habits are another way to deal with bad days. You are trying to figure out a new way to live. When you find something that works for you, make it part of your routine. The more good habits you accumulate, the better your days will be in general. No one is immune to bad days, of course, but if you regularly do the things that keep you healthy and sober, at least you reduce the chances of sabotaging yourself.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We specialize in detox and getting you started in treatment that works best for you. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

5 Ways to Spot Resentment

5 Ways to Spot a Resentment

Step four of the 12 Steps is do an honest personal inventory. One of the most important parts of this inventory is to identify resentments. The Big Book of AA says, “Resentment is the ‘number one’ offender. It destroys more alcoholics than anything else. From it stem all forms of spiritual disease, for we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically.” Identifying and letting go of your resentments is one of the most important things you can do, but you sometimes resentment is hard to identify.

What makes you angry?

Make a list of people, companies, and institutions you are angry at. Next to each name, write down why, specifically, you are angry at that person. Maybe he cost you money or opportunity. Now, write next to that the reasons why that loss of money or opportunity makes you angry. Sometimes anger is justified. Anger can spur you to take action when something is wrong. How do you know when anger is actually resentment?

Resentment is a kind of anger.

Maybe you feel someone slighted you intentionally and it hurt your ego, or maybe you needed the money and its loss puts your family’s security at risk. There is usually some kind of fear behind the resentment. Try to identify it.

 

Do you feel frustrated or helpless?

If the anger was the productive kind, you would have done something about it. You would have gotten your money back or confronted whoever slighted you. One feature of resentment is that you feel like you can’t really do anything about it so you instead you ruminate on it.

Do you blame the offender for your problems?

If you haven’t been able to correct the perceived injustice and you haven’t been able to forget it about it, you have probably been feeding your anger. Whenever some new problem arises, you might think, “I wouldn’t be in this mess if Becky hadn’t told my boss about my DUI” or whatever.

Has your anger lasted a while?

A feature of normal anger is that it is temporary. Someone attacks us, we become angry, and we defend ourselves. If the anger doesn’t go away pretty soon, it’s probably a resentment. To keep anger alive, you have to hold onto it and feed it. You have to constantly remind yourself that Becky is no good. It takes effort and concentration to make anger permanent. It becomes corrosive and only hurts yourself.

Is it really someone else’s fault?

You may resent Becky for telling your boss about your DUI, but when you get down to it, your DUI wasn’t Becky’s fault. Blaming Becky is just a way to avoid taking responsibility for your own problem. This is a common pattern among addicts because it allows them to deny the problem.

Even in cases where you didn’t actually cause the problem yourself, your anger might result from self-centered thinking. This is like the classic traffic scenario: If you cut someone off, it was an honest mistake and you are usually much more careful, but if someone cuts you off, he’s a jerk. Seeing the whole world in terms of how other people’s actions affect us is an excellent way to build up a load of resentments and make ourselves miserable.

 

If you are ready to leave active addiction behind, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We can help you detox and figure out what program of treatment is right for you. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

Why Do My Joints Ache During Detox?

Why Do My Joints Ache During Detox?

Muscle, bone, and joint pain are common symptoms of opioid withdrawal. The purpose of opioids is to stop pain. When you are addicted to opioids, your brain gets used to a new normal. At first, that means a lack of any pain. As you build a tolerance and need higher doses to get the same feeling, your pain perception changes.

When you detox and the drugs leave your system, you are suddenly defenseless against pain. It’s like when you are talking to someone in a noisy place and when it suddenly becomes quiet, you realize you’re shouting. When you detox, the naturally occurring opioids in your brain have been down-regulated and it suddenly feels like your body is shouting at you. Your brain can’t sort normal sensations from pain and so everything feels like pain.

Where you feel the pain depends on the person. Some kind of joint, muscle, or bone pain is common, but some people might feel it more in their bones or muscles, than in their joints. Some people get bad headaches. Sometimes an old injury will suddenly hurt again. Your brain had gradually learned to ignore the pain of the injury, but now that information is fresh again, and it has to relearn to ignore it.

Some people just feel pain in a certain place–knees, hips, shoulders, or wherever–for no apparent reason. It could be they had gradually ached more with normal use and they didn’t notice until the signal was massively amplified. It could be they hurt themselves and didn’t notice because of the opioids.

Whatever the case, joint pain typically goes away eventually. It may take several weeks. During that time, your brain chemistry readjusts to normal levels and you gradually relearn to sort normal sensations from pain. You may also find yourself still feeling whatever pain originally led to opioid use. Part of treatment will be learning to tolerate discomfort as something distinct from pain that could signal danger. Dealing with the pain might require over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen or physical therapy to strengthen and support the injured area.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We specialize in detox and getting you started in treatment that works best for you. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

What is Alcoholic Ketoacidosis?

What is Alcoholic Ketoacidosis?

Many severe health complications can arise from long-term alcoholism.  The body can become highly dependent on alcohol over time and require it to function normally.  Several organs may begin to develop issues in response from overuse of alcohol, and an individual can become very ill.  Most people know a person suffering from chronic alcoholism can develop liver disease, pancreatitis, or high blood pressure, but another potentially life threatening condition which could develop is alcoholic ketoacidosis.  

In short, ketoacidosis is a condition in which your body, for various reasons, may not produce the proper amount of insulin it needs, resulting in an excess of ketones in your blood stream.  For the cells in your body to function properly, they need glucose and insulin.  Glucose is a sugar present in the food we eat, and as it’s metabolized by your body, your pancreas releases insulin.  Through the metabolization process, fat is converted to energy and ketones are released into your body.  If you’re malnourished from a condition such as alcoholism, your body breaks down fat because it doesn’t have the proper vitamins and minerals from food, which can cause a buildup of ketones in your body.  Without the correct amount of insulin to counteract the ketones, you can develop alcoholic ketoacidosis.

A person suffering from alcoholism is typically malnourished.  They often skip meals because they’re drinking and may also vomit frequently.  In addition to lacking the vitamins and minerals they need, excessive alcohol consumption actually suppresses the body’s ability to produce insulin.  Therefore, not only are an excess quantity of ketones being produced, a minimal amount of insulin is generated.  Many individuals who are diagnosed with alcoholic ketoacidosis may also have other severe health issues, such as pancreatitis and cirrhosis of the liver.  Depending if you have caught it soon enough, there is hope for a full recovery.  However, many people don’t know what to look for until it’s too late, resulting in irreversible damage, such as coma or encephalopathy.  

Symptoms of alcoholic ketoacidosis may include nausea and vomiting, severe abdominal pain, confusion, dizziness, and fatigue.  It can be bewildering for an alcoholic because these symptoms can mirror those of a hangover.  Yet, the development of ketoacidosis is much more severe.  If you suspect you might have it, you need treatment immediately before it causes long-term damage.  To discontinue the effects, your body needs nourishment.  A doctor will likely provide various vitamins and minerals intravenously and you may be admitted to the hospital for some time, depending on the severity.  The only way to prevent relapse of alcoholic ketoacidosis is by reducing or eliminating your intake of alcohol.  Alcoholic ketoacidosis is highly dangerous and anyone who thinks they might have it should seek immediate medical attention.

If you are ready to leave active addiction behind, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We can help you detox and figure out what program of treatment is right for you. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

What Medications Are Used for Different Addictions?

What Medications Are Used for Different Addictions?

If you decide to detox in a hospital or detox center, the staff can give you medications to moderate your withdrawal symptoms and help with recovery. Some of these medications may be mild, over-the-counter medications or they may be stronger prescription medications, depending on the drug you’re are detoxing from and the severity of the symptoms. Every case is different and no single drug protocol works for everyone. The following are some common addictive drugs and the medications that might be given for them in detox.

Heroin and opioids.

Opiate withdrawal can have many symptoms and they can be relatively mild or severe. If they are relatively mild, they may be treated with over-the-counter medication. Imodium may be used to treat diarrhea, Pepto may be used to treat nausea and stomach cramps, and pain can be treated with NSAID pain relievers or topical ointments. Since there may be harmful drug interactions even with over-the-counter medications, they should be used under a doctor’s supervision.

More severe symptoms may require prescription medications. Clonidine may be necessary to reduce agitation and anxiety. Depression is common at some point during some point in detox and recovery and may require anti-depressants.

Methadone and buprenorphine help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings by mimicking the behavior of opioids but without the high. Methadone and buprenorphine are often continued indefinitely into recovery and help prevent relapse.

Alcohol.

Alcohol withdrawal usually includes agitation, irritability, anxiety, and insomnia. Benzodiazepines are often prescribed to treat these. The most common medication is probably Ativan, or lorazepam. Other common medications are Librium and Valium, or chlordiazepoxide and diazepam, respectively. Valium is generally considered safer but Librium has stronger anticonvulsive effects, which can be important if withdrawal progresses to delirium tremens.

Depression is also common at some point in alcoholism recovery and so anti-depressants are often prescribed.

If the patient experiences elevated heart rate and blood pressure, he may be prescribed clonidine or propranolol to bring them under control, but these do not reduce DTs or hallucinations.

Benzos.

Benzodiazepines have the most dangerous drugs to detox from because the risk of seizure is high. Detox from benzos typically requires a long taper, usually lasting 10 weeks or more. This means dosages are gradually reduced or time between doses is gradually lengthened or both. This gives the body time to adjust slowly to a different chemical environment.

In addition to tapering, there are some medications that can help with benzo withdrawal. People with generalized anxiety disorder might be prescribed buspirone to relieve symptoms. It takes a couple weeks to start working, but because it takes so long to taper off benzos, it could still be worthwhile.

Another medication is flumazenil. It is a benzodiazepine antagonist and is typically used to treat overdoses, but may speed up detox from severe benzo addiction. Dosage has to be carefully controlled because might make withdrawal more severe.  

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We specialize in detox and getting you started in treatment that works best for you. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

Effects of PCP?

Effects of PCP?

While all drugs can produce devastating effects, Phencyclidine, or PCP, can be detrimental to a person’s well being.  PCP was initially designed for use as a surgical anesthetic in the 1950’s, but has since become illegal in the United States.  Drugs are typically classified as stimulants, depressants, or hallucinogens.  Stimulants work by increasing dopamine levels in the brain.  Dopamine is responsible for causing pleasure, therefore an excess amount of dopamine makes an individual perceive more pleasure.  Depressants target a central nervous system neurotransmitter called GABA, whose primary job is to decrease brain activity and essentially calm down body and brain operations.  Hallucinogens are in a class of their own.  While stimulants and depressants trigger certain neurotransmitters to perform particular functions, hallucinogens aren’t as simple.  They are fundamentally disrupting the natural process of neurotransmitters, which results in changes to sensory perception. 

PCP is classified as a type of dissociative hallucinogen.  Dissociative drugs disrupt a chemical in the brain called glutamate where it meets with NMDA receptors, which are found on nerve cells throughout the brain.  Glutamate is imperative to proper brain functioning.  When it is altered, cognition, pain, and emotion are numbed. PCP is complicated because different doses of the drug can cause a huge variation in effects.  A minimal amount can cause physical and emotional numbness, along with a sense of relaxation.  Large doses of PCP can be extremely dangerous to the individual using it, as well as others around them.  

The unpredictably of the effects of PCP can be one of the most frightening aspects of the drug.  While small doses may prompt an individual to feel detached, disoriented, and numb, a large dose can cause severe hallucinations in the user.  The combination of physical desensitization and delusions a person may experience can make them quite dangerous to others.  They may experience paranoia and extreme agitation, resulting in physical alterations.  It is as though they develop superhuman strength, which no one is able to fight off alone.  When under the influence of PCP, a person may also feel invincible, which can result in great harm to themselves.  Sometimes a user may believe, for instance, they are able to fly, so they jump out of a window.  

For someone who uses PCP regularly, the effects can last weeks after they have gotten clean.  They may continue to have delusions and numbness, as well as anxiety and paranoia.  PCP can have severe long-term mental effects, such as memory loss and speech problems.  It can actually destroy cognitive functions in the brain, and make for a life of difficulties.  PCP is particularly harmful, and if you’re addicted, you should seek professional help immediately to avoid further cognitive or physical harm.

If you are ready to leave active addiction behind, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We can help you detox and figure out what program of treatment is right for you. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.