Sober Dating

Sober Dating

Dating while sober can present all kinds of challenges. For some people, social anxiety and fear of rejection are what led to addiction in the first place. Dating is often where these fears are most intense. Sooner or later your date will ask why you don’t drink. Will it be a deal-breaker when you say you’re in recovery? If it isn’t, will you be able to stay sober while dating someone who drinks? These are only some of the difficulties of dating while sober. Here are some suggestions for making it work.

Don’t rush. You go through a lot of changes when you enter treatment and recovery. Don’t be in a hurry to add the stress and anxiety of dating. Prioritize things that will help you in recovery–a healthy routine, regular meetings, steady work, and solid relationships with friends and family. When those things are more or less under control, which may take six months or a year, then you can think about dating.

Be careful who you date. Dating other people in recovery can seem like an ideal solution. Each of you knows what the other is going through and you both know you have to avoid triggers and find ways to have fun sober. There are even dating apps that match up recovering addicts. The problem is that relapse is always a possibility, and if one person relapses, it becomes that much more difficult for the other to stay in recovery.

Even worse is dating someone in active addiction. Some people are unconsciously drawn to this kind of relationship as a way of experiencing relapse vicariously, but it’s so obviously a bad idea that it should be avoided as a matter of policy.

Beware of old patterns. Relationships during active addiction are often characterized by drama and conflict. This seems exciting at the time but is usually destructive. In recovery, a solid relationship with a supportive person may seem lacking in excitement compared to earlier relationships. You may believe, based on your previous experience, and possibly even learned from watching your parents, that relationships are inherently tempestuous. This kind of expectation can make you feel dissatisfied in an otherwise healthy relationship. It may take a while for you to accept a new normal for healthy relationships, so as always, take it slow.

Be upfront about your sobriety. If you do online dating, say in your profile that you don’t drink. If your date asks why you’re sticking to water with dinner, it’s better to be honest and say you’re in recovery. If a relationship is going to work, the other person has to support your sobriety. Every relationship has its complications, and this is just one of those.

Dating is never easy and dating in recovery is no exception. Always prioritize your recovery and take new relationships slowly. If you or someone you love is currently struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can support you during treatment and recovery. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.

Meditation Can Help With Pain

Meditation Can Help With Pain

One challenge people face in detox, especially detox from opioids, is pain. In addition to the irritability, nausea, and insomnia common for any kind of withdrawal, opioid withdrawal often includes bone, muscle, and joint pain as well. Your body is so used to feeling no pain at all that even normal sensations are painful. What’s worse, chronic pain is often the reason people get addicted to opioids to begin with. The idea that staying in recovery means living with pain can be an obstacle for people needing treatment.

Fortunately, there are healthier ways to manage pain. Some of them include therapeutic massage, physical therapy, acupuncture, and counselling. One particularly effective way to deal with pain is meditation.

Meditation, especially mindfulness meditation, has been well researched. It has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, both of which can aggravate pain. More importantly, it can change your perception of pain.

One study on pain and meditation applied heat to participants’ legs and asked them to rate how much pain they felt. Experienced zen meditators felt less pain than non-meditators for any level of heat. Brain scans during the experiments showed that their brains actually process pain differently from non-meditators. Brain scans of zen meditators showed bright spots in the part of the brain that processes sensory information from the leg, indicating that they were more focused on the actual sensations of the pain. Non-meditators’ brains showed activation in various other parts, indicating they were more preoccupied with interpretations of the pain.

To put it differently, meditators felt pain but non-meditators suffered. The difference is subtle. Most of what we think is pain is actually what we tell ourselves about pain. When you feel pain, try to notice what you’re thinking. Typically, we think things like, “This is unbearable,” or “this will never stop.” Sometimes we imagine the pain is a symptom of something dangerous, or even fatal. These thoughts just make the pain worse. Mindfulness meditation is basically learning to experience pain for what it is–sensory information–and letting go of interpretations that turn pain into suffering.

The bad news is that unlike massage or acupuncture, meditation takes a bit of practice. The good news is that even eight weeks of short daily practice can make a big difference. Once you start to get the hang of it, mindfulness is a resource that’s always available to you when you start to experience pain.

Pain doesn’t have to be an impediment to recovery. At Gardens Wellness Center, we offer a variety of ways to manage pain and support you in recovery. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at

What Prevents People from Seeking Treatment for Addiction?

At any given time, there are more than 20 million Americans who need treatment for addiction, but only about 10 percent of those people actually seek treatment. What prevents the rest of them from seeking treatment?

Some of those people try to recover on their own or with the help of family. Sometimes this is a reasonable approach. If an addiction is not long-standing or severe, it is generally safe to try to detox at home, assuming the addiction is not to benzos or barbiturates. Some people can successfully detox at home, usually with family support, and ideally under the supervision of their doctor. For people with more serious, long-standing addictions, this is not a good idea. Severe alcohol withdrawal–DTs–can be dangerous, and opioid withdrawal can be so painful that many people can’t tough it out at home and end up relapsing.

A large percentage of people who don’t seek help–almost half–believe they can’t afford it or that insurance won’t cover treatment. Detox and treatment can be expensive, and relatively few people can pay out of pocket, but insurance frequently covers detox and some degree of inpatient treatment. Treatment centers have people who specialize in working with insurance companies, or finding other avenues of funding, often through state or federal programs. Don’t automatically assume treatment is too expensive.

The next largest group is just not ready to stop using or don’t think they need help. For them, the bad doesn’t yet outweigh the good, or they can’t admit their drinking or drug use has become a problem. If they can’t see they have a problem, their families or friends must help them see it before it’s too late.

Another large group fears the stigma of addiction. They know they need help but are too embarrassed to get it. They don’t want anyone to know about their addiction, so they keep struggling in private. What they don’t realize is that most of the people they care about probably know already. Often, addicts are the last to realize they have a problem. And if they have managed to keep it a secret, it’s only a matter of time before the addiction gets out of control, so it’s better to get help now.

Some people fear it will affect their work. It’s probably true that taking a bit of time for treatment will affect their job, but sooner or later, addiction will affect it much more adversely. Generally, employers want their employees to get treatment if they need it, and they are required by law to grant leave for treatment under the Family Medical Leave Act.


The last group of people who don’t get treatment simply don’t know where to get it. The US actually has many treatment centers, but some areas, especially rural areas, are underserved. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at

Dangers of Synthetic Drugs

Dangers of Synthetic Drugs

One strategy drug makers use in pursuit of profit is to stay one step ahead of legislation. They will make a drug and sell it until it causes enough damage to be outlawed, then they will change the chemical structure slightly so it’s not technically illegal and usually not identifiable by drug tests. The cycle repeats endlessly. As a result, there are hundreds of thousands of different compounds floating around under various names and no one is really sure what effect those compounds will have on users.

Although the frequent chemical alteration is meant to stay ahead of law enforcement, it also stays ahead of medical care. Products sold as “synthetic marijuana” may be any one of dozens of compounds, most of which are not remotely similar to cannabis or THC. One such compound is actually very similar to THC, but it is hundreds of times more potent. Someone might show up in the emergency room behaving strangely and doctors may not be able to figure out what she had taken or what to do about it.

Perhaps the most infamous synthetic drug is bath salts. Bath salts were sold openly in convenience stores and head shops until bizarre and violent episodes apparently caused by bath salts attracted media attention leading to the drugs ban in most states. Bath salts and similar drugs are often sold as meth or cocaine substitutes. They typically cause euphoria, alertness, anxiety, and muscle tension. Their more extreme and newsworthy effects include hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and psychotic behavior. People in the grip of these kinds of drugs are frequently described as zombies. In one recent video from Brazil, a man evincing this zombie-like behavior cracked a bus windshield several times with his head.

Other common effects of synthetic drugs might be seizures, delusions, aggression, paranoia, heart attack, overheating, sweating, heart palpitations, or inability to speak. As the chemical formulas continue to multiply, the specific symptoms will likely change as well. Generally speaking, these drugs will affect the nervous system, distorting the user’s perceptions, actions, and autonomic nervous system, which controls things like blood pressure, hormones, and heart rate. They are also toxic substances that tend to affect the liver and kidneys.

Some drugs are not replacements for other, well known drugs, but are all synthetic themselves. These include PCP, LSD, MDMA, and fentanyl. Although LSD and MDMA have recently garnered attention for their therapeutic potential, and MDMA, in particular, is not very dangerous when taken at appropriate doses, most of what is sold on the street as LSD or MDMA is actually a synthetic substitute and may have same unpredictable effects as any other synthetic drug.

If you or someone you love is having trouble with synthetic drugs, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We make detox as comfortable as possible while treating illnesses or injuries caused by synthetic drugs. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at

Detox Will Help You Stay Sober

Detox Will Help You Stay Sober

Detox will help you get sober, which is the first step in staying sober. Withdrawal symptoms can be painful or even dangerous and they often drive people to relapse even before recovery has really started. Detox will get you through the difficult initial stage in which your body is getting rid of the drug. This treatment can include medications to make symptoms less severe and counselling to help you better understand your addiction.

The goal of detox is really only to address the physical aspect of addiction. When you have been using for a long time, your body has adjusted to accommodate the drug. That is, you physically need the drug to function normally and when you don’t get it, the result is withdrawal. That can include anxiety, nausea, confusion, elevated heart rate, fever, headaches, and more, depending on the drug. These are all things that happen to your body when your chemistry is out of balance. Detox is designed to get your through this part as safely and as comfortably as possible.

Detox is meant to address the physical part of addiction, not all the other parts. During detox, you may begin to address the other factors causing your addiction, such as trauma, habits, and relationships, but detox is relatively short–a week, more or less. You may be able to meet with a counsellor a few times or go to a few meetings, which are a great start. You may get a bit of exercise or try painting. Make full use of the options available to you during detox but keep in mind that just as you can’t get in shape in a week or become a great artist in a week, you can’t master addiction in a week. It’s just the start of a process that will take time and practice.

Detox is necessary to get sober but probably not sufficient to stay sober. Everyone is different, of course. If you have been using a very short time, you may be able to go to detox to get you through the rough part and then stay in recovery through some minor life changes and maybe some therapy. In that case, detox will have been a big factor in staying sober. For most addicts, this would not be enough. Even with months of therapy, a long recovery isn’t certain. Expecting detox to keep you sober is asking for trouble. Detox is for getting the drugs out of your system; it’s not a cure for addiction. Addiction has to be fought every day and on many fronts.

START your recovery at the Gardens Wellness Center in North Miami. Our comfortable environment offers the highest luxuries in detox, making sure you are safe and encouraged to make it through withdrawals. Changing the way we approach detox, our program is focused on holistic care in order to create a foundation of recovery. For information, call:  (844) 325-9168

Will My Detox Center Offer Other Forms of Treatment?

Will My Detox Center Offer Other Forms of Treatment?

Much of the treatment you receive in a detox center will be standard medical treatment. You give a medical history when you are admitted. You get get IV fluids and vitamins to stabilize you. You get prescription medications to treat your anxiety and other withdrawal symptoms. You will talk to a therapist. All of these are well-established medical practices and most of them work directly on your physiology in clinically-proven ways.

There are, however, other forms of treatment that might help you feel better faster. Many of these have existed for a long time–thousands of years, in the case of acupuncture–but have only recently begun to get attention as legitimate forms of treatment. Many detox centers have begun to realize that it’s important to treat the whole patient and so they may offer more than the standard bedrest, medication, and counselling.

These other forms of treatment might include acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, yoga, art or music therapy, and exercise. While the goal of mainstream interventions is to get you stabilized and counteract the symptoms of withdrawal, these complementary forms of treatment take a longer view toward restoring health.

Acupuncture, for example, has been practiced in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The goal of acupuncture treatment is not only to treat symptoms, but also rebalance your body for optimal health. Research shows that certain acupuncture techniques, like the NADA protocol can reduce your withdrawal symptoms and reduce your risk of relapse.

Other complementary treatments, like meditation, yoga, art, music, and exercise are activities you can keep doing for the rest of your life. Meditation, yoga, and exercise can all form the basis of a healthier lifestyle, while art and music can be a new form of self-expression. All of these help you manage stress and maintain a positive outlook, which is vital to staying in recovery.

Different facilities offer different treatment options. Some may offer a broad range, some may offer a few specific things. Some will be rather spartan. It’s important for you to consider the options a detox center offers before committing to one. Alternative or complementary therapies work best in combination with more regular medical treatment.

Human dignity has value. When a loved one chooses detox, they should be comfortable and treated with respect. Struggling with addiction is not something punished. Recovery should be supported with empathy and acceptance. Gardens Detox stands out, changing the way the industry approaches detox. Call us today for information on our programs:  (844) 325-9168

Why is Relaxation an Important Part of Detox?

Why is Relaxation an Important Part of Detox?

Detox is a challenging time. Your body and brain have to quickly adjust to the absence of chemicals that have been present for years. Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may have a lot of physical healing to do. Different drugs can damage your body in different ways. Detox is the beginning of some long-deferred maintenance. It’s also the time when you start to learn to live without the drug. Relaxation is important for both of these processes.

Relaxation helps you heal. If you have been using for a while, you probably have some organ damage. Eventually, you want that damage to heal as much as possible for the sake of your long-term health. For the sake of detox, you need those organs to function as well as possible just to get the toxins out of your system, and if you feel stressed that will happen much more slowly. Stress delays physiological repair because it signals your body that there is an emergency and you have to use all available resources to deal with it. Unfortunately, this is the opposite of what you want to do in detox. The more you relax and let go of that stress, the more resources your body can devote to healing.

Stress triggers cravings. During withdrawal, you may feel terrible, and you know that using again is all it takes to feel better. You hardly need any more pressure. Cravings are often caused by stress and anxiety, especially when you feel like you can’t deal with whatever problem you’re facing. In detox, the only problems you face are making it through withdrawal and focusing on recovery. Finding ways to relax during detox helps you unlearn that reflex. Whether you relax with exercise, meditation, massage, or something else, you lower that baseline stress, making common problems less daunting. You also start to find out what works for you, which can help you form better habits for dealing with stress later in recovery.

Sleep better. Sleep is a huge factor in both the physical and mental aspects of recovery. Sleep is the time when your body and brain are most active in repairing themselves and it’s the time when your mind consolidates new skills and information. Detox is a time of radical readjustment and all of these functions are essential. Unfortunately, insomnia is a common withdrawal symptom of many drugs. If your body has gotten used to fighting against the soporific effects of alcohol or opioids, their sudden absence can leave you feeling tense and alert when you lie down to sleep. Some studies have shown insomnia is the best predictor of relapse in alcoholics. The good news is that conscious relaxation appears to reduce insomnia during detox. Not only is this good for sleep and recovery, but it also reduces the need for additional medications which may complicate detox.

Human dignity has value. When a loved one chooses detox, they should be comfortable and treated with respect. Struggling with addiction is not something punished. Recovery should be supported with empathy and acceptance. Gardens Detox stands out, changing the way the industry approaches detox. Call us today for information on our programs:  (844) 325-9168

Natural Assisted Detox

Natural Assisted Detox

Natural Assisted Detox, or Nutritionally Assisted Detox, NAD, is an approach to detox that minimizes use of medications, such as benzos, to treat withdrawal symptoms. Instead, NAD uses a mix of vitamins and amino acids to minimize withdrawal and cravings. These vitamins are first administered daily by IV, then later at longer intervals and by pill. It appears to be particularly useful for alcohol and opioid addiction.

Addiction harms the body in several ways. Most directly, drug use damages cells and organs and changes the chemistry and structure of the brain. Indirectly, addiction can cause you to neglect your health, which can result in malnutrition and dehydration. While most of the discomfort of detox is withdrawal from the drug itself, the discomfort can be made much worse if dehydration and malnutrition prevent your body from detoxing efficiently.

Part of the aim of NAD is to heal the collateral damage to your body as quickly as possible. You may have months or years worth of nutritional deficits to make up for in a very short time. IV vitamins and amino acids help jumpstart this process, which helps ease withdrawal. Patients using NAD have reported as much as 50 to 80 percent reduction in withdrawal symptoms.

NAD sometimes includes neurotransmitter replacement, or NTR. The strategy of NTR is to augment the neurotransmitters that your brain has gradually stopped producing in sufficient quantities. Symptoms like agitation, insomnia, and depression are largely a result of these neurotransmitter deficiencies and replacing the neurotransmitters may help ease withdrawal symptoms.

The more you are able to reduce symptoms nutritionally, the better. The whole point of detox is to get the drugs out of your system. Depending on what drugs you are detoxing from and what your symptoms are, harmful drug interactions might be a concern. There is also the hazard of introducing a new potentially addictive drug to treat withdrawal from another drug. If you can avoid using medication, detox becomes simpler. It may be necessary, even with NAD to treat symptoms with medication. This may still be preferable to the traditional approach because it reduces the amount of medication necessary.

NAD is a promising new approach because of its focus on restoring health and avoiding new drugs but it has certain limitations. It may not work as well for people with a serious benzo addiction. As a relatively new treatment, NAD is not usually covered by insurance, so you may have to pay out of pocket.

START your recovery at the Gardens Wellness Center in North Miami. Our comfortable environment offers the highest luxuries in detox, making sure you are safe and encouraged to make it through withdrawals. Changing the way we approach detox, our program is focused on holistic care in order to create a foundation of recovery. For information, call:  (844) 325-9168

Why Can’t I Sleep Normally During Detox?

Why Can’t I Sleep Normally During Detox?

Insomnia is a common withdrawal symptom during detox. In the later stages of recovery, insomnia is common for all drugs, for a variety of reasons, but during detox, insomnia is more common in withdrawal from opioids and alcohol. The mechanism is slightly different for each, but basically, these drugs make you sleepy and your body has spent months or years balancing out that effect. When the drug is suddenly gone, your mind is way too amped up. It’s like when your car slips out of gear and the engine suddenly races because it has nothing to push against.

It can take a while to sort out this imbalance. Although the worst symptoms of detox are usually over in about a week, the chemical rebalancing goes on for a while. Even when your brain chemistry is pretty much back to normal, the psychological challenges of recovery, including depression and anxiety, can make sleep difficult. Unfortunately, insomnia can also make recovery difficult. Insomnia is one of the best predictors of relapse.

Here are some research-supported tips for getting better sleep during detox.

Pay attention to the basics. If you have been an addict for a while, you might have gotten used to an erratic sleep schedule. You may have just fallen asleep in random places at random times. You were probably aided by alcohol or drugs and haven’t paid attention to what contributes to a good night’s sleep.

Detox is a good time to relearn how to sleep. Make sure you get up and go to bed at the same time every day, even if you didn’t sleep well the night before. Make sure you don’t drink coffee or tea in the afternoon or evening. Keep your room as dark and quiet as possible when it’s time to sleep. Don’t lie in bed looking at your phone and wondering why you can’t sleep.

CBT-I. This stands for cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia. A therapist can explain this to you in detail and help you learn to use it, but the basic idea is simple. Although part of your insomnia is due to a chemical imbalance, your thinking likely contributes as well. For example, if you lie in bed thinking, “Oh no, I can’t sleep again; this is awful; I’m not going to be able to function at all tomorrow; I’m going to relapse and end up homeless, etc.” then you will feel more anxious and unable to sleep. If you replace those thoughts with more reasonable thoughts, such as, “Well, it’s late and I’m still awake. I’ll probably be tired tomorrow, but it’s not a disaster. It might even help me sleep better tomorrow night,” then you won’t add runaway anxiety to the regular insomnia caused by withdrawal.

Progressive relaxation. In addition to other relaxation methods, like massage, you might try progressive relaxation when you lie down to sleep. This is when you tense a body part, say, your feet, then let go and feel the muscles relax. After a few seconds, move on to the next body part until you have tensed and relaxed your entire body. You may even fall asleep before you finish.

Exercise. This one is pretty simple. Just make yourself tired with moderate exercise. Do it in the morning or afternoon because exercising in the evening can make it harder to sleep.

Ask about medication. It’s best to avoid medication if you can because during detox you still have drugs in your system that can interact with medication. Also, some sleep medications are, themselves, addictive and you don’t want to create more problems for yourself. Still, sleep is extremely important and if other methods don’t work, medication is something you should discuss with your doctor.

Human dignity has value. When a loved one chooses detox, they should be comfortable and treated with respect. Struggling with addiction is not something punished. Recovery should be supported with empathy and acceptance. Gardens Detox stands out, changing the way the industry approaches detox. Call us today for information on our programs:  (844) 325-9168

Which Holistic Therapies Help Relieve Detox Symptoms?

Which Holistic Therapies Help Relieve Detox Symptoms?

Some detox centers offer a range of holistic therapies. Normal medical care at a detox center usually includes IV fluids and vitamins, medication to treat withdrawal symptoms, counselling, and rest. Holistic therapies include anything beyond the normal medical care, and particularly anything intended to treat the whole person and not just withdrawal symptoms. This might include acupuncture, massage, meditation, exercise, and nutrition.

Many holistic therapies are more important for long term recovery than relieving withdrawal symptoms. Exercise and healthy food, for example, are necessary to feel good and manage stress in the long run, but they won’t help much in the short time it takes to detox. Meditation is another example. Mindfulness meditation can be an excellent way to manage pain and cravings, but it does take a bit of practice. If you try to start in the middle of detox, you might end up dwelling on your discomfort. Other forms of meditation, such as guided visualization, may be more useful during detox.

Although many holistic therapies are more effective over longer periods, some may still be helpful for relieving detox symptoms. Therapeutic massage is one example. Therapeutic massage can have several immediate benefits. The most obvious is that helps you relax. Detox is a stressful time on both your body and mind. Most people experience some degree of anxiety during withdrawal. You are almost certainly holding a lot of tension in your muscles, possibly without realizing. Massage therapy helps you release that tension and relax. It might even help you sleep, which is nice because insomnia is another common withdrawal symptom.

Massage therapy can also help with pain. Muscle and bone aches are common symptoms of opioid  withdrawal and massage can relieve some of the pain.

Acupuncture is another holistic therapy that might be helpful in detox. The NADA protocol is a treatment that involves five thin needles placed at specific points on the ears. Research has shown that it reduces withdrawal symptoms, improves mood, and helps prevent relapse. There are other forms of acupuncture that treat specific symptoms like headaches and digestive problems. Acupuncture may also be useful after detox to gradually restore the health of organs such as liver and kidneys.

Human dignity has value. When a loved one chooses detox, they should be comfortable and treated with respect. Struggling with addiction is not something punished. Recovery should be supported with empathy and acceptance. Gardens Detox stands out, changing the way the industry approaches detox. Call us today for information on our programs:  (844) 325-9168