Person That is Sober Living in Boston Massachusetts

Sober Living in Massachusetts

So you’ve decided to get sober and now you’re hearing the term “ Sober Living ”. Maybe you’re in a treatment center or detox facility. Maybe a friend or family member is suggesting sober housing as an alternative to living at home. So what is it like? This is my story about how living in a sober house changed my life.
In 2007, I decided that my life had become unmanageable and that I didn’t want to continue living the way I had been. Everything about my life had become centered on the next drink and drug. I had designed my career to accommodate my addiction, and all of the things that were important to me fell short of booze on my priority list. After entering treatment, I began to hear about “Aftercare” and “Continuing Care”. These were terms for the work that I would continue to do in order to maintain my sobriety, after treatment ended. This is where I first heard of living in a sober home.

Living a Sober Life on My Own

After deciding that I was fully capable of maintaining my own sobriety without someone else “controlling my life”, I decided against a sobriety house, and chose to move in with friends from my treatment center instead. While my intentions were sincere, my conviction to stay the sober path was soon challenged.

I was faced with many temptations, intense emotions, and unanticipated life struggles. What I had imagined to be an easy path to walk in my newfound sobriety became a dangerous tip toe through a wild jungle. Before the end of 8 months, I had relapsed, and things got bad… fast!

I had heard that when you drink again, you “pick up where you left off”. This was certainly the case for me as I found myself ready to leap from the 17th floor of my apartment building- only a higher power could have kept me alive through the events to follow. It took me more than a year to get back into treatment.

Getting Sober Again

Returning to treatment in 2009, I vowed to do things differently. I spent 90 days in residential treatment and decided to move close to my treatment center in Los Angeles, where I had begun to build a sober community and fellowship. As I approached the end of treatment, a sober home was suggested for me. But again, I was reluctant to give up control and live with strangers. Besides, I had heard that sometimes people actually used in sober livings!

I would move out into my own home, but near my community, I decided. Within six months, I found myself back in crisis, lost in desperation, and far from the sober way I had envisioned.
After completing a 3rd visit to residential treatment, I was beaten. I knew then that my decisions were not serving me. I decided to trust others, and I accepted that an aftercare plan may need to include this off-putting concept: living in a sober house.

The Reality of Sober Living

I arrived at my new sober living house in September of 2010. I quickly discovered that my mind’s concept of a controlling environment with supervision and strict management was very different from what I entered into that day. I wasn’t supervised, I was supported. I wasn’t controlled, I was given suggestion. When I made a choice, it was my choice, and what I learned in the following months taught me how to make good choices for myself. My house manager, Joe, told me “I can’t get sober for you dude. This is your journey… I’m just here to help you find your way”. Joe would quickly become a mentor and friend, offering much needed advice about everything from work to women. I made many friends that year, some who are still close to me today. I thought I would be giving up my free will… instead, I was learning how to reclaim it.

Tharros House

Fast forward to 2016 where I now sit, writing this blog in the office of Tharros House, my own High Standards Structured Sober Living home in Lexington Massachusetts. With 8 current clients who are learning to walk a great path, all desiring a different life than they are leaving behind, I am struck by how different I thought it would be those years ago when I entered Joe’s house in Los Angeles. I experienced many new things through the people I met and the opportunities I was afforded in sobriety. I found a way to live life that is far happier than I ever had before the drinking or drugs began.

I am now grateful for my addiction! Without it, I wouldn’t have the life I have today, nor would I have learned how to live the way I do now, with great meaning and joy. At Tharros House, my team and I work with only 10 clients at a time to ensure that we provide the support and suggestion that can help each individual design their own successful recovery. Each client at Tharros House learns to apply the tools from treatment in a way that is both fun and effective. Clients participate in sober events and learn to have fun while living sober in the city of Boston. Our team is here to help each person find their way.
Learn more about what a sober living home can offer for you. You deserve a joyous and meaningful life, and the right support and guidance can help you find your way. Visit us at www.TharrosHouse.com to learn more about Tharros House in Lexington, MA.

man in backpack thinking about addiction recovery programs

Types of Addiction Recovery Programs

There are many different types of addiction recovery programs out there.  For someone who is working to recover from an addiction, it is important to consider the pros and cons of the different programs in order to choose the best option for their individual needs.  A few of the addiction recovery programs available are explained below.

Alcohol Anonymous: This program is a 12-step program that provides support and guidance in the form of a support group for the recovering addict as well as their family and loved ones.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT):  Cognitive Behavior Therapy has been shown to be effective at using an understanding of how thoughts influence behavior and emotions to manage addiction.  It also works to change the underlying thoughts of an individual that contribute to the maintenance of the addiction.

Detoxification (Detox): A detox program involves a patient going through the withdrawal process being monitored and treated with necessary medications in order to manage the symptoms that occur during withdrawal.  A detox can be done on an outpatient or inpatient basis.  This is not a complete type of treatment and should be followed up with additional treatment methods.

Family Therapy:  Family therapy involves a therapeutic approach that takes into account the recovering addict’s family’s strengths and resources in order to help the individual live their life without the use of alcohol or drugs.  This method seeks to reduce the consequences of addiction on both the substance abuser and their family.

Group Therapy: Group therapy uses a group setting to provide positive peer-to-peer support and assistance and coping techniques.  This type of therapy can be more cost-effective than others.  Group therapy is often used in inpatient and outpatient facilities in addition to individualized therapy treatments.

These are just a few of the many addiction treatment methods out there.  Each person going through the recovery process will need to weigh their options and choose the best method for their own recovery.

sober living home backyard path to recovery

What Are Sober Living Homes?

Sober living homes are places where recovering addicts can live in a safe, drug-free environment to continue with their recovery.  These homes do not provide actual treatment, but they do provide a clean-living space for recovering addicts to work on discontinuing their destructive habits.  Sober living homes have rules for their residents, which provide structure.

Benefits of Sober Living Homes

Additionally, they have organized recovery meetings.  Sober living homes also help their residents find work or connections with school programs.  They also provide their residents with connections to outpatient recovery programs.  Sober living residences also require regular drug tests, and of course, drugs and alcohol are banned from the homes.  Sober living homes are less costly than staying in an inpatient rehab facility while providing someone in recovery the same type of safety net of being separated from their temptations and having the benefit of being surrounded by others who are also working towards recovery from addiction.

Who Lives in Sober Living Homes?

Many residents in a sober living home are in active treatment or attending a twelve-step program of some kind.  The homes only provide indirect support during the recovery process, but this indirect support can make a huge difference.

How Effective Are Sober Living Homes?

There is evidence, both anecdotal and empirical, that sober living homes do make a significantly positive difference in the process of recovery.  Generally, those who reside in sober living homes show better overall results over time on their path to recovery.  Typically, recovering addicts who live in sober living homes tend to stay sober longer and more consistently, avoid legal trouble, hold a consistent job, and have a lower rate of relapse.

Sober living homes can be hugely beneficial to those working towards recovery from addiction.  While everyone is different and there are a variety of different approaches to take in recovery, these homes are a good place to start the journey.

Tharros offers a highly supportive version of sober living, which includes an extensive peer support model.  To learn what’s different about Tharros, view our Tharros Experience Page

Various types of addiction

Different Types of Addiction

When someone thinks of addiction, they typically are thinking of alcohol or other drugs such as heroin, marijuana, or cocaine.  However, there are many other drugs that are commonly abused that may not immediately come to mind when one first thinks of addiction.  Staying up-to-date on your knowledge of side effects and long-term effects of commonly abused drugs can help you if you find yourself in a position of needing to help a loved one who may be suffering from addiction.

Stimulants                                                                  

Simulants are a drug that causes levels of nervous activity in the body to rise.  These drugs have the effect of increasing mental alertness; however, they also can cause an elevated heart rate along with elevated blood pressure.  Common withdrawal symptoms include depression and sleep disturbances.  Long-term abuse of stimulants can lead to paranoia and potentially even heart failure.

Depressants

Depressants cause the body’s central nervous system to slow down.  Depressants have the effect of making the user feel calm and relaxed.  Individuals with anxiety or with insomnia tend to be the ones who are more likely to abuse these drugs.  In addition, depressants can lower a person’s inhibitions and affect their decision-making ability.  Some of the other negative effects of depressants include drowsiness, poor coordination, and slurred speech.  Abuse over time can lead to respiratory issues and liver damage.

Opiates

Opiates are often prescribed to individuals suffering from illness or injury to treat pain.  These drugs promote positive feelings coupled with blocking pain receptors in the person’s brain.  Since a higher dosage continues to be needed in order to result in the same positive effects, overdosing is common.  A consequence of overdosing may be cardiac or respiratory arrest.  Withdrawal from opiates is difficult, with those experiencing opiate withdrawal often reporting symptoms of fever, chills, insomnia, vomiting, and diarrhea.

These three categories of drugs are some of the most commonly abused drugs.  If you or someone you know is going through drug withdrawals or dealing with addiction, it is important to seek help right away.

Green Recovery House Sign

Alternatives to Twelve-Step Programs

When many people think of addiction recovery, one of the first things that come to mind is the group Alcoholics Anonymous (or AA) and the 12-step program for recovery.  While Alcoholics Anonymous and similar groups are typically thought of as treatment, they are more accurately defined as support groups.  Unfortunately, according to addiction treatment researcher Thomas McLellan, Ph.D., studies seem to indicate that only 25-35 percent of addicts who attend an AA meeting actually go on to continue with the program and attend meetings regularly.

Women for Sobriety

Women for Sobriety was created by Jean Kirkpatrick in the 1970s.  Jean Kirkpatrick held a doctorate in sociology and focused her program on the premise that women with drinking problems require a different recovery approach and plan than men do.  Women for Sobriety is an abstinence-based program which sets out to first tackle the emotional issues that may lead to addiction.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery uses a cognitive-behavior approach that encourages its members to first acknowledge the emotional and environmental factors for drug and alcohol use and then to respond to these factors in new and more productive ways.  SMART Recovery is abstinence-based; however, it does welcome individuals who are ambivalent about their recovery.  It has over 600 groups based in the United States, and it also has a youth program along with a Family & Friends program.

LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing Secular Recovery was formed over a decade ago.  It has three main principles— sobriety, secularity, and self-help.  This group focuses on human efforts instead of divine intervention.  It also holds the belief that the key to recovery is within the individual and is based on their own motivation and effort.

Refuge Recovery

Refuge Recovery is a nonprofit, mindfulness-based addiction recovery organization. They provide a community that uses Buddhist philosophy to help people recover from addiction. Inspired by the teachings of the Four Noble Truths, Refuge Recovery places emphasis on being more empathetic and understanding.

Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery was founded by John Baker in 1991. Focusing on a Christ centered approach, Celebrate Recovery has spread to recovery houses, rescue missions, universities, and prisons around the world. To date over 35,000 Celebrate Recovery churches have been opened with over 5 million individuals having completed the Celebrate Recover’s Step Study, a program created to bring the healing power of Christ to those that are suffering, broken, and having life difficulties like as addiction.

Although Alcoholics Anonymous is not for everyone there are many other support groups available, such as the groups listed above.  These other groups may be more useful approaches if someone struggling with addiction does not find Alcoholics Anonymous to be the best approach.

Meth Addiction Artwork

Methamphetamine Symptoms and Treatment

Methamphetamine, or meth, is one of the most devastating drugs someone can take.  Meth works by forcing the brain to pump dopamine – a neurotransmitter that induces and elevates the mood and creates a high in the person taking the drug.  While there are many different activities that can increase dopamine in a person’s brain, drugs can hijack the brain and force the brain to secrete more dopamine than is healthy and typical.

Meth is a powerful drug and is habit-forming, which opens the door to the potential for addiction and long-term consumption.  When used over a long period of time, meth destroys dopamine receptors in the brain.

Symptoms of a Meth Addiction

There are certain telltale signs and symptoms to look for if you believe you or someone you love has a meth addiction.  These symptoms include weight loss (because meth stops your brain’s hunger centers from becoming activated), dehydration, decreased libido, osteoporosis (because bones and teeth become more easily breakable as a result of meth use, skin abscesses (due to injecting the drug into the skin rather than a vein), elevated body temperature, and sleep deprivation (due to constant stimulation impacting the need for sleep).

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Treating an addiction to meth can be difficult, as it requires comprehensive detoxification courses.  The first step in treatment includes purging the presence of meth from an addicted individual’s body and helping them reacclimate to functioning without the use of the drug.  Since there can be significant psychological damage to a person’s mind over time due to use of the drug, treatment should also address rehabilitation of the mind.  Treatment for meth should include showing former users of the drug how they can regain the ability to function in everyday life without going back to old behaviors of seeking out the drug.

Treatment After Rehab

At Tharros House in the Boston area of Massachusetts, we work with people who have already completed some form of treatment.  We believe that learning how to live life without picking up a drink or a drug is critically important, but only half of the process.  At Tharros, we focus on skills to maintain sobriety, but also on helping each client build a life that they want to live in sobriety. To learn more about our approach and get answers to common questions, please visit http://tharroshouse.com/faq/.

Alcohol Abuse Side Effects Path in Boston Massachusetts

Alcohol Abuse and Side Effects of Withdrawal

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 87 percent of adults have had at least one drink during their lifetime.  While many addictive substances are illegal, alcohol is legal in the United States to those over the age of 21, and this substance is easily obtainable.

Many people are able to drink mild to moderate amounts of alcohol on a regular basis without any negative health consequences.  The Mayo Clinic has even published findings that drinking in moderation may even have some positive health benefits.  However, heavy drinking or binge drinking can lead to an alcohol problem.  Binge drinking is typically defined as drinking more than four drinks in a span of a few hours for a woman, or more than five drinks in a few hours for a man.

Additional Facts and Statistics Regarding Alcohol Abuse

  • It is estimated that approximately 16.6 million American adults had an alcohol use disorder in 2013.
  • One of every three visits to an emergency room is related to alcohol consumption.
  • Approximately 88,000 people die each year from an alcohol-related cause, making alcohol the third-leading preventable cause of death in the U.S.

Side Effects of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal is generally thought to begin between six hours and 24 hours after the last drink was consumed, according to American Family Physician.  There are three major stages of alcohol withdrawal.

Stage One

Stage One of alcohol withdrawal typically includes mild symptoms, such as anxiety, nausea, stomach pain and/or vomiting, loss of appetite, mood swings, heart palpitations, and depression.

Stage Two

Stage Two of alcohol withdrawal includes more moderate symptoms, such as irregular heart rate, sweating, irritability, mental confusion, increased blood pressure, and increased body temperature.

Stage Three

Stage Three of alcohol withdrawal includes severe symptoms, such as fever, seizures, severe confusion, and hallucinations.

Tharros Sober Living House

Rehabilitation from alcohol abuse isn’t usually a quick process.  It requires effort, and it takes time.  Building a solid foundation will serve you for your entire life, which is the reason why we solely accept clients ready to put sobriety and recovery as their top priority.  To learn more about our approach and get answers to common questions, please visit http://tharroshouse.com/faq/.

Water Lily Sober Living Boston Massachusetts

Preventing Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) utilizes early intervention strategies in its efforts to reduce the impact of substance use and mental disorders in America.

Mental and Substance Use Disorder Statistics

Substance use and mental disorders can have a major impact on the health of individuals, along with their families and their communities.  Approximately 9.8 million adults aged 18 and older in America had a serious mental illness in 2014, and 1.7 million of these adults are classified as young adults, aged 18 to 25.  Additionally, about 15.7 million adults and 2.8 million youth (aged 12 to 17) reported suffering a major depressive episode during the last year.

Drug and alcohol use can lead to the development of other chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes.  Dealing with the impact of substance abuse is thought to cost Americans an estimated $600 billion dollars per year.

In 2014, about 22.5 million Americans that were 12 years old or older reported needing treatment for illicit drug use or alcohol.  These types of disorders are included in the top conditions that result in disability and have a high burden of disease in the U.S.  As a result, these disorders result in high costs to families, health systems, and employers.  It is estimated that by the year 2020, mental and substance abuse disorders will become a major cause of disability throughout the world, surpassing all other physical diseases.

Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Prevention

Selective prevention strategies focus on assisting people to develop the attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary to make positive choices and change harmful behavior.  These strategies can be implemented in a classroom setting.

Universal prevention approaches incorporate the usage of environmental prevention strategies.  Environmental prevention strategies are tailored to local communities and address root causes of risky behavior by creating healthy environments.

Are you or a loved one dealing with substance abuse?

Sober living houses, like the Tharros House, can be a helpful place to begin your recovery process. Visit www.tharroshouse.com to learn more.

Sober house road to recovery in Boston Massachusetts

Sober Living Residences and Half-Way Homes

When a person is working on recovery from addiction, it can be extremely helpful for them to live in a sober living facility or a half-way home to aid in their recovery.  Living in a drug-free and stable environment can help eliminate certain factors that can be detrimental to maintaining recovery.

Some of the earliest forms of sober living residences were run by religious institutions, such as the Salvation Army and also the YMCA.  These sober living homes were first formed in the 1830s.  In Los Angeles following World War II, “Twelfth Step” houses emerged to help combat alcohol-related issues that had become more widespread during that time period.

Maintaining Sobriety While Living in a Sober Living Residence

Exercise at least three times per week – Exercising can be helpful not only to help your body stay in shape physically but also can help you mentally.  While you exercise, your body releases endorphins which can help to elevate your mood.

Maintain a healthy diet – Eating healthy foods and keeping a regular meal schedule of eating three times a day will help you with your overall health levels.  Falling into unhealthy eating habits can lead to relapsing, hurting your recovery progress.

Attend a 12 Step Program and get a sponsor – A 12-step program is an addiction recovery support group.  These groups often have meetings every day.  A sponsor is a mentor who can help someone recovering from addiction.  Often, a sponsor has already gone through many of the same issues that someone new to the recovery process is currently experiencing, which makes a sponsor a very helpful resource.

Sober living residences, like the Tharros House, can be a helpful place to begin your recovery process.  Living with others who are going through the same things can be a helpful built-in support group.

Sober Living Home Fence in Boston Massachusetts

Sober Living Homes

For those suffering from addiction, sober living homes can be helpful when trying to maintain abstinence from drugs and alcohol.  A stable and drug-free environment is important for continued recovery from addiction.

Sober Living House Expectations

While there are different types of sober living home arrangements, there are some general expectations that apply to sober living houses.  These include:

-No stealing from the house

-Paying fees/dues on time

-No drinking alcohol

-No taking drugs

-No sexual activity with other residents

-No violent actions

Tips for Staying Sober in a Sober Living Residence

  • Attend a 12-Step Program – A 12-step program is a support group for people working to overcome addiction.  There are meetings every day that you can attend as needed.  Many people in the support group have experienced similar circumstances and can offer guidance on how they overcame their own personal setbacks on their path to recovery.
  • Exercise Three Times a Week – Exercising releases endorphins, which make you feel good and elevate your mood.  Exercise can also help reduce compulsive behaviors.
  • Eat Three Meals a Day – Eating healthy foods on a regular schedule is an important part of your overall health.  A person dealing with substance abuse is more likely to relapse if they also have unhealthy eating habits.
  • Get a Sponsor and Contact Them When Needed – A sponsor is a mentor for someone recovering from addiction.  A sponsor is usually at a point in their own recovery where they have already worked through many of the issues that someone newly dealing with addiction recovery is experiencing, so they can be a helpful resource.

While in the process of recovering from addiction, it is important to set goals for yourself and come up with a long-term recovery plan.  Living in a sober living residence, such as the Tharros House can help you progress with recovery from your addiction.

Prescription Drug Abuse in Boston Massachusetts

The Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse

More American adults than ever before are turning to prescription drugs to cure their ailments.  At least thirty-four percent of Americans are taking one or more prescribed medications.  Prescription medications are quickly becoming the go-to way to resolve all types of common conditions, including stress and anxiety.

Prescription Medication Safety

Americans may be lulled into a false sense of security regarding prescription medication, figuring it must be safe because their doctor prescribed it.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has conducted studies involving patients who share prescription medication with friends and family.  The studies found that many people were unaware of the dangers that sharing medication may bring.

The Dangers of Narcotics and Addiction

One of the most dangerous categories of prescription medication includes narcotics.  It is estimated that approximately three out of four overdoses each year involve narcotic drugs.  Narcotics can be extremely addicting, requiring higher doses of the medication to maintain the same level of relief to the body.  After a person has been taking certain drugs for an extended period of time, their body’s tolerance for the medication builds.  Most people are aware that you can become addicted to medication that you are taking for recreational use and may not be actively prescribed to, however addiction can also occur even when you are taking prescribed medication, so it is important to discuss your concerns with your doctor.

Commonly Abused Prescription Medications

Some prescription medications are more commonly abused than others.  The top three categories of drugs that are abused the most are opioids (narcotic painkillers), stimulants, and central nervous system depressants.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Addiction

Addiction may not be easily noticeable at first.  There are many different side effects associated with a wide variety of medications, so some side effects of addiction may simply be side effects of taking the medication.

One symptom that may signal addiction to prescription medication is an onset of erratic behavior.  You may notice erratic behavior in someone addicted to medication if they are desperate to replenish their medication supply or engage in risky behaviors in order to get more of the medication.  Some addicts even resort to forging prescriptions or trying to get their prescription filled at multiple pharmacies at once.

Treatment and Recovering From Addiction

Addiction can be very difficult to overcome, but there are many resources available to help individuals suffering from addiction to medication.  There are rehabilitation and treatment centers that specialize in helping addicts recover.  These facilities can help addicts through all stages of recovery, including the initial withdrawal physical symptoms.  Trained professionals also work with people suffering from addiction to help them work through their emotional dependency on the medication.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends behavior therapies for the treatment of addiction in conjunction with detox treatments.

Reducing Medication Dependency

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has begun monitoring prescription dispensaries such as pharmacies in an effort to help control the prescription drug use epidemic.  As of 2011, there are thirty-seven states that have implemented prescription drug monitoring programs.  These efforts may help to fight the epidemic of prescription medication abuse.

Tharros Sobriety House

At Tharros House Structured Living in the Boston area of Massachusetts, we find that people have the most success battling prescription drug addiction when exposed to various ideas and are given the power to choose their own path to recovery. It’s important to identify what’s meaningful for you in order to direct your own recovery. Visit www.tharroshouse.com to learn more about this approach.