Recovery House Covered by Sober Hands

Recovery Homes for Lifelong Recovery

Staying at a recovery home can be one of the most important steps you can take to on the path to lifelong recovery. The battle through addiction can be a daunting task for anyone, yet with the proper tools and help getting and staying clean can become much more manageable.

Benefits of a Recovery Home vs. Rehab Alone

Drug detox and rehabilitation can do wonders for a person stuck in the depths of an addiction. It takes them out of the toxic surroundings for a bit and helps them get clean – but staying clean is another matter.

People with addictions generally build a life around them that helps feed that addiction; from friends to the places they choose to live. While rehab is great and can be the answer for some, many times it takes building out new habits and living in a friendly sober place away from all of the old temptations.

A recovery house provides you with a safe drug-free environment with like-minded individuals on the same path to recovery. There is an emphasis on spirituality, connecting with others, and learning new habits / ways of thinking to make it through the most difficult times in life without using drugs or alcohol.

Tharros Sober Living Recovery House

When looking for a recovery home it’s important to find one with experienced staff, safety & comfort, and structure. At Tharros House we have all of the above and then some, going above and beyond to ensure you feel safe and secure while learning how to live a sober life.

Our program leadership are all Boston Massachusetts natives. They pull from experiences with various sources of intervention including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy , Psychoanalytical Therapy, Hypnosis, Acupuncture, Yoga, Meditation, Family  Therapy, as well as  Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs.

For more information on Tharros Recovery House visit our website at http://www.tharroshouse.com.

Types of drug abuse in Boston Massachusetts

Treating Drug Abuse in Massachusetts

There can be a fine line between regular use of drugs and drug abuse. To find out whether or not someone that is using drugs is dependent on them or just taking them recreationally you can ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Why does the personal use drugs?
  2. What happens when they are under the influence of drugs?

What makes someone abuse drugs?

Many times people with alcohol dependence and/or drug problems use the drugs to acquire a specific effect, such as escaping emotions.  While there may be many reasons for someone to use drugs, the people that become addicted usually all desire the escape.

It is still possible to like the escape / feeling that comes with alcohol and drug use while not having a drug problem, which brings us to the second question of ‘What happens when they are under the influence of drugs?”. Behaviors such as blacking out, uncontrolled drinking, and not caring about the negative consequences that come from drinking alcohol / taking drugs can all point towards a drug abuse problem.

Ignoring the Consequences

A major sign that someone has a drug abuse issue is that the user will continue using despite all the negative consequences of their actions. Take a DUI for example – a normal users would try to ensure that they never get in this situation again and avoid it completely. People with drug abuse disorders would recognize that they definitely don’t want another DUI but would continue to get themselves in the same situations and still take the risk.

Treating Drug Abuse

Once someone has accepted that they have a drug problem the first step, depending on the severity of the problem, is to go to a drug detox facility. Going cold turkey after years of abusing drugs or alcohol can have serious life threatening consequences, so it’s important to do it the right way.

Once completely detoxed the most important thing to do is to go through primary treatment, aka rehab. Rehab is essential to drug recovery as it removes the person from all the daily stresses and triggers in everyday life that play a role in their addiction. When the person leaves rehab there are oftentimes many challenges in the day to day life.

This is where sober living comes in. Living in a sober house helps by giving you the tools you need to succeed in everyday life. At Tharros, we work with people who have already finished some form of major alcohol or drug treatment.  Our clients are sober and free from drugs.  A commitment to staying free from all mind changing drugs is a condition of living at Tharros House.  People usually stay between 4-6 months, however some reside as long as a year, or longer.

We believe that learning how to live life without having to pick up a drink or a drug is seriously important, but it’s just part of the process.  At Tharros House, we concentrate on skills to maintain sobriety, but also on helping each client to build a life that they want to live in being sober.  Our staff helps each client to recognize how to include purpose, meaning, success, and other key factors of a joyful life.  Clients direct their personal recovery with support, suggestions, and accountability provided by our team and community.  Learning the skills of life are incorporated both on an individual basis through activities like grocery shopping, meal planning, and service commitments, and on a group basis, like cooking classes.

Rehabilitation from drug 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/.

Sober roommates on computer in Boston Massachusetts

The Necessity of Sober Community in Recovery

(Sober Roommates and Successful Sobriety)

Contributed by a client of Tharros, 4 months into his stay (December 2016)

Where addiction takes us

As people in recovery from addiction, time and time again, we hear harrowing stories of desperation, loss, and spiritual deprivation. Often, the inherent pain suffered by an active user, before recovery, exceeds that of the average person’s worst nightmare. Complimenting the overarching theme of hopelessness and despair, one common thread in the active user’s story is that of isolation and pervasive loneliness. More often than not, the turning point in numerous stories of addiction is when the substance enthusiast morphs into the solitary pill popper, drunk, drug abuser, or addict.

Why sober community

 Combatting isolation is a driving force for the creation of sober living/sober houses.  These homes often place emphasis on promoting spiritually, physically, and emotionally progress in sober surroundings as a crucial component of successful long-term recovery. The first safeguard against relapse, as is often underlined in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, is the openness and willingness to reach out to others in recovery and expand a network of sober support that alleviates isolation and accentuates a sense of camaraderie in the battle against addiction. Living in a sober house, or at the very least living with a sober roommate or roommates, makes this extremely accessible, as finding sober entertainment, sober events, and sober jobs becomes about as painless and effortless to find as substances, confusion, and chaos once were to the standard addict.

What happens in a sober home or sober living

Experiences as insignificant as casually sharing past histories of use, talking about the struggles of sober dating, or simply distracting one another from the periodically overwhelming fixation of chemical dependence for spiritual maladies are just a few of the many blessings and advantages of living in a setting of fellow sober minded people.

My experience at Tharros in Lexington MA

In my personal experience, within weeks of entering Tharros House, I recognized the magnitude and significance by which having a fellowship of sober friends provides the definitively lonesome subconscious of my addict mind, a sense of immense spiritual and social relief. As time progressed, the bonds of the men in the house grew, cultivating a sense of wholeness, and an irreproachably guilt and shame free elevation of my self-esteem. The house morning meetings, ping pong tournaments, the bi-weekly bowling gatherings, the Sunday night dinners all constructively snowballed, compounding a positive growth in my confidence, and belief in my peers. It re-instilled a conviction in me that I was worthy of maintaining positive connections, of having faith in those who I entrusted to support me, of finding socially, intellectually, and intangibly meaningful and liberating connections, but most importantly of enjoying the basic elements of life all entirely substance free. Undoubtedly, the brotherhood of the men facing the struggles and triumphs of sobriety, living and breathing a substance free life together, fuses a comradeship that makes the strenuous days tolerable and the triumphant days euphoric. Thus, the urgency of placing the sober supports around oneself in the manner of a sober living environment is perhaps the single most critical key to my personal success in sobriety.
I was skeptical about sober living when it was suggested to me.  At Tharros, I found a wholesome and inclusive environment, and I’ve gained much more than I could have imagined.  To learn more about what we do at Tharros, click here to explore the Tharros experience.

Green Recovery House Sign

3 Things to Look for When Choosing a Recovery House

Choosing to live in a recovery house can be the difference between staying sober and going back to your old ways. With so many types of housing and options available, choosing the RIGHT recovery housing can be a daunting task. To make things easier, we’ve compiled 3 of the most important things to look for when choosing a sober living house.

Finding the Right Recovery House

      1. Experienced Staff – The early phases of sobriety can sometimes be overwhelming. Although early recovery can be exciting, it’s very important to find recovery houses that staff disciplined and experienced people. The recovery staff’s reputation for working with addiction and the ability to maintain accountability can be hugely important in both making sure you or your loved one feel safe and secure and are held accountable during the recovery process.
      2. Safety & Comfort – With stays ranging from 30 days to 1 year depending on the recovery home, it’s very important to find a place where you feel both comfortable and safe. Although cleanliness is a must, the amount of people living in that home is a pretty close second. It can actually be helpful to have roommates and less privacy, however having an over-packed house can leave you feeling uncomfortable and hinder the recovery process.
      3. Structure – Some kind of structure is important to ensure each of the residents is taking the necessary steps to care for their recovery. Recovery houses may have curfews, mandatory meetings, and even regular unannounced breathalyzer and urine screenings.

Tharros Sober Living house

Tharros House approaches recovery by looking at both abstinence and your life satisfaction/ happiness.  We employ the tenants of positive psychology to help identify what areas of your life will benefit the most from your attention, ultimately helping you achieve your goals and a life that you look forward to living!

Our program leadership are all Boston Massachusetts natives. They pull from experiences with various sources of intervention including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy , Psychoanalytical Therapy, Hypnosis, Acupuncture, Yoga, Meditation, Family  Therapy, as well as  Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs.

For more information on Tharros Recovery House visit our sober living website at http://www.tharroshouse.com.

Meth Addiction Artwork

Meth Addiction – Symptoms & Treatment

Meth is one of the most destructive and addictive substances in the world today and those who fall privy to meth addiction will usually have an extremely hard time getting clean without the proper help. In fact, meth has the highest rate of relapse compared to any other type of drug.  But don’t let these statistics haunt you if you or a loved one is trying to get clean; with the proper treatment getting sober can be achieved safely and effectively.

Why is Meth Addiction so Hard to Shake?

Much like cocaine addiction, meth addicts are faced with a ton of obstacles to overcome. Meth becomes a way of life for many meth users. Oftentimes they will alter their lives around the drug – from the friends they hang out with to the daily obligations they may have. Therefore when a person wants to get clean, they’re usually not only giving up a drug but a way of life.

Once an addict gets clean there is the added difficulty of overcoming the acute withdrawal effects that can last from six months to two years, depending on how long the person has been addicted to meth.

Other difficulties to overcome may include:

  • Depression
  • Weight Gain
  • Fatigue
  • Psychosis
  • Memory Loss

Staying clean in the early stages of sobriety can be incredibly difficult which is why it’s recommended to find treatment instead of going at it alone.

Meth Treatment

Getting clean is just the first step to meth recovery. Once people finally put down the meth amphetamines and try a sober life they may feel ‘stuck’ and start connecting to various feelings that they haven’t had in a while. Feelings of not being good enough or not measuring up can creep up. This, along with the various symptoms listed above, is a huge reason why people relapse and start doing drugs again.

The trick is to challenge those beliefs and ultimately change them. According to drugabuse.gov, the most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction are behavioral therapies. Although everyone will have a different path on the road to recovery the treatment option that you ultimately choose can have a massive impact on getting and staying sober from meth use.

Getting sober alone usually doesn’t work – it helps to have the support of the people around you. Recovery is best achieved with others, and that may be a scary thought for many that are getting help with their meth problem.

Tharros Sober House

At Tharros House Structured Living in Massachusetts, people have the most success battling meth 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.

Living Sober in Massachusetts

Living Sober in Massachusetts

The path to living sober can be much different for each individual person.  There’s no magic program or exercise – the best way to get sober and stay sober is to find your own path. There may be many similar ways of thinking as far as sobriety goes, however just because one program doesn’t work for you it doesn’t mean you’re doomed. That’s the best part about living in a sober house – you’re able to live with like-minded people and take your own path with the guidance of experienced mentors.

Sober Living Housing vs. Halfway Houses

Sober living, as opposed to a halfway house, is much more directed at people in recovery from addiction, as opposed to criminal activity or mental health. Halfway houses may carry a certain stigma about them, whereas sober houses are generally looked at in a different light.

If you’re looking for the support to solidify your foundation of living sober, you’re much better off finding recovery housing that identifies itself with sober living due to the differences in amenities, programs, structure, and support.

First Step: Getting Clean

Abstaining from drugs and alcohol is just the beginning step on the road to recovery.  It’s hugely important, as it’s hard to think clearly and face your feelings / issues while under the influence. You may feel like you’re going in the right direction if you’re going to meetings high, but it’s very unlikely that you will have any success.

Get Moving

Many times when people put down the substances that they have depended on, they feel stuck. Feelings may come up that you haven’t felt in a while due to the constant suppression – perhaps feelings that there is something wrong with you or that you aren’t good enough. Challenging and ultimately changing those beliefs is critical for recovery.

Path to Living Sober

Getting and staying sober is rarely achieved when done alone. Having the support of family, friends, and people that understand exactly what you are going through is critical.

At Tharros House Structured Sober Living in Massachusetts, clients have the best success when they are exposed to many ideas and given the power to choose their own path to recovery.  I believe that you need to identify what is meaningful for you in order to direct your own recovery.  To learn more about this approach, please visit www.TharrosHouse.com

Alcohol Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms List

Alcohol Withdrawal Signs, Symptoms, and Solutions

Alcohol withdrawal is both uncomfortable and dangerous.  For those witnessing someone in a state of withdrawal, it’s often easy to tell that something is very wrong.  But it’s not uncommon for people who don’t know what’s going on in the person’s life, to miss the fact that these are signs or symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

What are some symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?

Alcohol is a drug.  While it does take significant alcohol abuse to develop a physical addiction to alcohol, alcohol addiction is very real, and medical treatment is often needed to avoid life threatening dangers that can result from withdrawal in a person who has alcohol dependence.  Some common symptoms observed during an alcohol detox are irritability, anxiety, agitation, tremors, and of course DT’s and seizures.

Alcohol facts:

It’s important to identify several facts about alcohol.  Excessive alcohol consumption on a regular basis can lead to alcohol dependence.  Continued alcohol intoxication leads to alcohol tolerance, which often leads to greater consumption.  Alcohol percentage in someone’s blood is identified as BAC, which is measured to determine the level of alcohol intoxication.  As people build a tolerance, it’s possible that they will not feel the effects of the drug, yet their BAC level will still be elevated.  This is a common contributor to drunk driving incidents.  It’s also possible to suffer from an alcohol overdose, which can be fatal.

As a person engages in more consistent alcohol consumption, the risks for alcohol dependence increase.  As the body and mind become addicted to the alcohol, the neurotransmitters are suppressed.  During withdrawal, the neurotransmitters become hyperactive, which leads to the symptoms listed above.  These symptoms are essentially the opposite of what alcohol does to someone when they use.

What are the solutions?

Alcohol awareness month is April.  Each year, The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) takes measures to educate people on the dangers of alcohol.  It’s important that family and friends are aware of the risks associated with alcohol withdrawal, as there are many fatalities each year that result from seizures related to withdrawal without medical supervision.

If someone has alcohol dependence, it’s probable that the signs will include shaking, sweating, irritability, anxiety, agitation, etc.  These symptoms show up when the person is away from alcohol for a period of time, and the body starts to enter withdrawal.  We have heard many stories in which initial symptoms were noticed first at family events, as the person with alcohol dependence does not want to drink when it’s not socially acceptable.  Depending on the level of alcohol addiction, the symptoms can show up in as little as two hours from the last drink.  When symptoms are present, it’s best to enlist medical help and seek out an alcohol detox.  Of course, if the symptoms become very severe, calling 911 is the best option.

There are many alcohol detox programs available.  Some are affiliated with alcohol and drug treatment centers, while others are independent detox facilities, or affiliated/connected to hospitals.

To learn more about alcohol addiction, signs, and symptoms, we encourage you to visit the CDC site dedicated to Alcohol Awareness Month at http://www.cdc.gov/features/alcohol-awareness/

Sober Programs in Boston Massachusetts

Sober Programs – What to Look For

This blog post about sober programs and what to look for was sent in by a sober guest blogger that wished to remain anonymous.

Sober Programs

Sober houses in Massachusetts and sober programs have become more prevalent as a result of the recent addiction crisis in the Northeast. Having a sober community with activities and companions is one thing I know contributed greatly to my sobriety. Sober housing is not a new concept, but when an individual is looking to get sober, it is probably new to that person.

Most people start their journey to recovery at a detox center or a thirty-day rehab program. This is a great first step, after admitting that you have a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. After this initial treatment, the chances of long term success are greatly increased when the person in recovery engages a supportive environment.

All sober homes offer similar, yet different things. For example, one sober home may not offer a coach or a companion, but will offer a sober driver for transportation. Whether you are looking to get sober, it’s important to build a community of like-minded people. This is what all sober homes have in common- community.

From experience having roommates who were also sober, living with sober minded people, and creating a network of people who were on the same path were all among the most important parts of my early recovery. I needed a to surround myself with sobriety in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, free from drugs and alcohol. I remember back when I was living in my sober house and I went on a date. If you have never gone on a date as a sober person, it’s hard! Yet, having my roommates, I was able to get some great ideas!

I never thought the day would come where I would feel comfortable being sober in a nightclub, singing karaoke, or hanging out with musicians. In my experience the more like-minded people I met, the more comfortable I became in my skin. I was told to pick and commit to a path of recovery, and for me, it became the beginning of choosing a sober way of life. Whether it be AA, NA, Smart Recovery, or Dharma Punks, being around a clean, sober and healthy environment can do wonders for maintaining your sobriety.

When most people first get clean, they can never imagine being sober forever. People in AA would say, its “one day at a time” to recovery, and they are right. So my suggestion, when you’re stringing together a day at a time, is to create time with friends, build a support system, such as AA, and maybe even ask about jobs or other opportunities to hang with other sober singles.

Who would of thought entertainment, dating, games, and events while sober would be fun! I certainly didn’t in the beginning – but after time it became completely normal and actually much more fun / rewarding. So when you’re out looking for sober programs, remember to look for support in the community you’re involved in – it sure went a long way for me!

You deserve a joyous and meaningful life. Visit us at www.TharrosHouse.com to learn more about receiving the right guidance and support at Tharros House in Lexington, MA.

Man with Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol Addiction: Physical Dependency vs. Binge Drinking

What is Alcohol Addiction?

Many in recovery who identify as having had an alcohol addiction have never found themselves physically addicted to alcohol.  In actuality, alcohol is less physically addictive than many other substances, including nicotine, cocaine, and opiates.  However, partially due to the fact that alcohol consumption is so socially acceptable, alcohol abuse is very common.

Alcohol Dependence

When a person becomes physically dependent on alcohol, an alcohol detox will be necessary to avoid potentially serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms.  Alcohol is a drug, similar to others which are commonly used for recreation.  It is possible to overdose on alcohol, which happens most often to those who are not alcohol dependent.  Due to low tolerance levels, it’s easy for an alcohol overdose to occur when a young person, like a college student, is engaged in rapid alcohol consumption.  In our experience with clients who have developed an alcohol dependency, this is something that took many years of alcohol abuse and eventually led to morning drinking, and a need to consume alcohol in order to function.  In our work, we more commonly encounter those whose lives have become unmanageable without getting to the point of physical addition to alcohol, though we have worked with both.

Alcoholic Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is often overlooked as the early stages of alcohol use disorder.  Binge drinking is the large consumption of alcohol in a short period of time.  A person is at greater risk of alcohol poisoning when participating in binge drinking.  A person’s alcohol limit is usually exceeded in a short period of time, and this can lead to an alcohol overdose.

Do I have an alcohol problem?

Whether or not a person is physically addicted to alcohol is important from a medical treatment perspective; this will play a role in the alcohol detox stage.  But what is often more important to consider is if you or your loved one has a problem with alcohol.  You don’t have to meet a set of conditions to determine that alcohol is problematic.  If you decide that you have a desire to stop drinking, you’ve already decided that a life a sobriety is going to serve you better.  Incidentally, you’ve also already met the only requirement for AA membership- a desire to stop drinking.  Living without substances isn’t a new concept.  According to the Washington Post, 30% of Americans don’t drink at all.  Another 30% have alcohol consumption that is less than 1 drink per week.  So, if you’re a heavy drinker or alcohol dependent, you’re actually in the minority (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/09/25/think-you-drink-a-lot-this-chart-will-tell-you/).  You don’t need to be in the top 10%, consuming 74 drinks per week, to identify a problem and take action!

At Tharros House, we help guide clients to and through their own path in recovery from Alcohol Addiction and Drug Addiction.  We don’t force concepts like the 12 steps, or specific CBT concepts.  Putting every person through the same process to get the same result doesn’t work.  We allow our clients to make choices within their recovery.  Doing nothing isn’t an option, but there are many paths to finding happiness in a life of recovery and sobriety.  Finding that path is our goal for each and every client.

 

Man with Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse – Get the Facts

Where is the line between “normal use” and substance abuse?  What qualifies someone as a “normal drinker” or “normie”?  How do you know if you are dealing with a substance use disorder or someone who is a heavy drinker?

How do I know if someone’s using has become substance abuse?

In our experience, the two most relevant considerations when deciding if someone has a substance related disorder are: 1. Why the user uses; and 2. What happens when they use.  At Tharros House, we have found that those with alcohol and/or other substance abuse problems are engaging in the behavior for a specific effect; they want to escape the way they feel.  There can be many reasons why someone wants this effect, but those who become addicted or dependent all desire this escape.  But isn’t it possible to like the temporary escape and change of feelings, yet not have a substance abuse problem?  Yes, and that’s where the second component comes in.  What happens when the user engages in their substance use?  Does the user control their drinking when they want to?  Does he black out? With those who are abusing substances, there are unintended and undesired consequences, yet the person continues to engage in their behavior.  The desire for the substance intoxication is so great that the user will still engage the drink or drug despite significant consequences.

Does the user know what will happen when they use?

In most cases, when we work with someone in early recovery, they identify that once they have the first drink, they don’t know what will happen that day or night.  For alcoholic binge drinkers, it’s possible that they will have only 1 or 2 drinks, then stop on one occasion.  Then on the next occasion, despite the intention to only have 1 or 2 again, the user finds themselves in a blackout as their substance control is lost.  Blackouts are common for alcoholics, but it’s also possible to be an alcoholic and not experience blackout drinking.  Substance dependence is also not a necessary component of a substance use disorder or substance abuse.  Many who identify as alcoholics will tell you that they were never physically addicted to alcohol, yet they were still alcoholic drinkers.

Continued use despite consequences:

One of the most common consequences that indicates an issue is when a person is arrested for a DUI or OUI (driving under the influence).  Most people, if they are normal users, will immediately ensure that they are not in this position again, avoiding circumstances where they may need to drive after drinking, or limiting their consumption to ensure that they are below the legal limit.  Those with substance abuse disorders recognize that they do not want to incur another DUI, but continue to engage in the same behaviors, many times with unsuccessful intensions of limiting their consumption.  Even once they know that they cannot drink safely, they will continue to take the risk.  Additionally, with most substance abusers, a significant tolerance for the substance is achieved.  In the case of alcohol, this can lead the user to feel that he is not under the influence while in fact he is far beyond the legal limit.

Another thing that we’ve seen is that almost invariably, if someone thinks they may have a substance abuse issue, he does.  The good news is that recovery can offer gifts that reach far beyond the losses.  While achieving sobriety will most likely be one of the hardest things you accomplish, the benefits that you will receive through an honest recovery process often present a full and enjoyable life, exceeding your expectations at every turn.  We’ve seen that to be true over and over again.

To learn more about our approach, read more on our “about” page: http://tharroshouse.com/about-2/