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.

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.

Living a Sober Life in Massachusetts

Living the Good, Sober Life

Stick around people in recovery long enough, and you’ll hear a common message: Sober is better.  In Boston, it sounds more like Sobah is Bettah!  But there’s a reason for the statement, however you pronounce it- for those who stay sober and get recovery, life gets really good!

Road to a better life:

Let’s be clear.  Not many people wake up one day, decide to stop using substances for no reason, and then find that life is better without them.  Usually, there is a reason to stop.  What worked for us at one time, has stopped working.  So we’re willing to try something different.  Some of us engage treatment, a sober community or sober housing.  We look for ways to engage sober support to help us stay sober while working on our recovery.  Yes, most of us had to find sobriety, in order to find recovery.  Sober recovery led us to a life where we felt better, found joy, and discovered, sober is better!

What is sober recovery?

Sober recovery is more than abstinence from alcohol and drugs.  Recovery is about changing the way we engage in life, looking at what’s important to us, and taking action to build a life we want to live without substances.  Stopping your coping mechanisms (drinking/drugs) and taking no further action isn’t likely going to give you much recovery.  If you like white knuckles, this is your path!  To get more, we do more.

What is the sober way?

Finding your path to a life of recovery isn’t easy.  But it’s worth it, and you can do it!  Most of us find it important to build a sober network, surround ourselves with a sober community, and engage sober support, like a sober coach or a sober house.  At Tharros, we’ve combined community with aftercare, and our house offers a safe place to explore sober meaning.  We focus on recovery, with you choosing the fellowship and resources that speak with you.  Our team has many different experiences in recovery, and we make many suggestions, while following a framework designed to help each person move toward a full and meaningful life.  We help you build a life you want to live!

We involve sober entertainment, sober games, sober jobs, and sober dating too!  Living life in recovery doesn’t mean giving up what’s important to you; to the contrary, it’s about finding what’s important to you, building it, and living life in a way that’s meaningful to you!  For those of us on that path, it’s easy to say, Sobah is Bettah!

To learn more about Tharros House and our approach to recovery, visit http://tharroshouse.com/about-2/ or read more of our blog posts at http://tharroshouse.com/blog/

 

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/.

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/

Writing Alcohol Detox in Boston Massachusetts

Alcohol Detox – What to Expect

The terms alcohol detox and rehab, for an individual suffering from drug addiction or alcoholism, can be overwhelming and scary.  This holds true for both the individual and the family members involved. Many times family members of those suffering from alcohol abuse or drug abuse are unsure what steps to take once someone has an alcohol or drug dependency.

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol and drug addiction are very hard to define, unless you are a person abusing the substance. Many times, family members and friends see an alcoholic or addict’s consumption as a problem, yet, until the user admits that they have a problem, undertaking treatment or entering a rehab facility, poses many challenges and produces very few good results.  Sadly, there are many individuals who are not able to come to terms with their addiction.  However, there are steps that family members can take to help an individual reach a place of willingness.  Support groups like Al Anon and Learn 2 Cope help families identify ways to stop the enabling behaviors that prolong substance abuse.

Alcohol Detox and drug detox

Once a person is dependent on a substance, it is important that the individual receives proper medical help to detoxify their body.  Many recognize the need for a medical detox from narcotics such as an opioid or benzo.  However, it’s important to recognize that alcohol is a drug too.  When an individual builds a high alcohol tolerance, their body can become physically dependent on alcohol.  Alcohol withdrawal and alcohol poisoning are two very serious medical conditions that require medical attention to avoid an alcohol overdose, alcoholic seizures or even death.

Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal differs for each individual as it is largely dependent on the amount of alcohol consumed.  After an alcohol evaluation is completed at a medical facility, alcohol withdrawal medication may be prescribed, and the patient is closely monitored.

Treatment and Recovery

Once an individual has detoxed from the substance(s), the real work of “recovery” can begin.  In most cases, residential or inpatient treatment is recommended.  Programs can range from two weeks to many months, and some as long as a year+.  Years of addiction and escaping feelings through substances cannot usually be healed overnight.  Recovery is the process of learning to live a full life, including good and bad feelings, without an escape.  The process is significant, but so are the rewards.

Alcohol Quiz

Addiction recovery starts with willingness to make changes.  That is the catalyst required to stop alcohol use disorder or any other addictive behavior.  If you’re not sure if you have a drinking problem, try taking some of the self-assessments like those offered by SMART recovery: http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/library/Tools_and_Homework/Interactive_Tools/problem-drinking-test.htm

Remember, it’s okay to complete this kind of tool for a loved one, but it’s critical that the substance user acknowledges their issue with the substance.

There are many recovery fellowships.  The largest, and best known, is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).  If you’re thinking about participating, it’s good to try at least 3 different meetings.  Each meeting is different and it’s important to try a few before making a judgement.  With regards to the program offered in AA, here is a questionnaire offered on AA.org to help you decide is it’s the right choice for you.  http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/is-aa-for-you-twelve-questions-only-you-can-answer

Alcohol detox and drug detox is the first step to building a life in recovery.  While it can be a scary concept, many detox centers make the process comfortable, while ensuring that your body is safely rid of the physical symptoms and dependency.  The rewards that come through real recovery are certainly worth any temporary withdrawal discomfort.