Drinking Surged During The Pandemic. Do You Know The Signs Of Addiction?

Despite the lack of dine-in customers for nearly 2½ long months during the coronavirus shutdown, Darrell Loo of Waldo Thai stayed busy.

Loo is the bar manager for the popular restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri, and he credits increased drinking and looser liquor laws during the pandemic for his brisk business. Alcohol also seemed to help his customers deal with all the uncertainty and fear.

“Drinking definitely was a way of coping with it,” said Loo. “People did drink a lot more when it happened. I, myself, did drink a lot more.”

Many state laws seemed to be waived overnight as stay-at-home orders were put into place, and drinkers embraced trends such as liquor delivery, virtual happy hours and online wine tasting. Curbside cocktails in 12- and 16-ounce bottles particularly helped Waldo Thai make up for its lost revenue from dine-in customers.

Retail alcohol sales jumped by 55% nationally during the third week of March, when many stay-at-home orders were put in place, according to Nielsen data, and online sales skyrocketed.

Many of these trends remained for weeks. Nielsen also notes that the selling of to-go alcohol has helped sustain businesses.

But the consumption of all this alcohol can be problematic for individuals, even those who haven’t had trouble with drinking in the past.

Dr. Sarah Johnson, medical director of Landmark Recovery, an addiction treatment program based in Louisville, Kentucky, with locations in the Midwest said that, virtual events aside, the pandemic has nearly put an end to social drinking.

“It’s not as much going out and incorporating alcohol into a dinner or time spent with family or friends,” Johnson said. “Lots of people are sitting home drinking alone now and, historically, that’s been viewed as more of a high-risk drinking behavior.”

There are some objective measures of problematic drinking. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines heavy drinking as 15 or more drinks a week for a man or eight or more for a woman.

But Johnson said that more important clues come from changes in behavior. She explains that, for some people, a bit of extra drinking now and then isn’t a big deal.

“If they are still meeting all of their life obligations, like they are still getting up and making their Zoom meetings on time, and they’re not feeling so bad from drinking that they can’t do things, and taking care of their children and not having life problems, then it’s not a problem,” Johnson said. “It’s when people start to have problems in other areas of their life, then it would be a signal that they are drinking too much and that it’s a problem.”

But there are signs to watch out for, she says. They include:

  • Big increases in the amount of alcohol consumed
  • Concern expressed by family or friends
  • Changes in sleep patterns, either more or less sleep than usual
  • Any time that drinking interferes with everyday life

Johnson noted that for many people, living under stay-at-home orders without the demands of a daily commute or lunch break could be problematic.

“Routine and structure are important to overall mental health because they reduce stress and elements of unknown or unexpected events in daily life,” Johnson said. “These can trigger individuals in recovery to revert to unhealthy coping skills, such as drinking.”

Johnson explained that while some people may be predisposed to problematic drinking or alcohol-use disorder, these can also result from someone’s environment.

Johnson said that people who are unable to stop problematic drinking on their own should seek help. The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration runs a 24/7 helpline (800-662-HELP) and website, www.findtreatment.gov, offering referrals for addiction treatment.

Peer support is also available online. Many Alcoholics Anonymous groups have started to offer virtual meetings, as does the secular recovery group LifeRing. And for people who are looking for more informal peer support, apps such as Loosid help connect communities of sober people.

Darrell Loo at Waldo Thai said that he has been concerned at times about people’s drinking but that he generally has seen customers back off from the heavy drinking they were doing early in the pandemic.

Loo and others in the Kansas City restaurant business are pushing for the carryout cocktails and other looser laws to stay in place even as restaurants slowly start to reopen.

“This will go on for a while. It’s going to change people’s habit,” Loo said. “People’s spending habit. People’s dining out habit. So there’s definitely a need to keep doing it.”

This story is part of a partnership that includes KCUR, NPR and Kaiser Health News.

By: Alex Smith, KCUR
Title: Drinking Surged During The Pandemic. Do You Know The Signs Of Addiction?
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/drinking-surged-during-pandemic-do-you-know-signs-addiction
Published Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2020 07:18:22 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

A Partnership Approach to Recovery

If you’re like a lot of people, you’re struggling right now. You might be white-knuckling it through early sobriety during a global pandemic, or finding yourself using drugs and alcohol more and more, tipping the scales from acceptable use to problematic abuse. If you’re in either of those situations, finding a sober partner to help you though recovery can be an important tool.

A sober partner is someone who works with you one-on-one to support your journey to sobriety or help you through the ups and downs of early recovery. While entering a treatment center with other people can seem risky, there are ways to get help for your drug or alcohol addiction in an individual or small group setting that allows you to tightly control your exposure.

An individualized approach to treatment

In order to succeed in treatment, you need to feel comfortable. If you can’t imagine lying in a bed in a detox facility or even sharing a double room with someone else in early recovery, you might need a more individualized approach to treatment.

Luckily, there are plenty of options available that can be tailored to your specific needs. For example, executive treatment plans. This approach to treatment is designed for people who are accustomed to being in control and living with certain amenities. You’ll be treated with respect and understanding that you might not find in other treatment centers. Plus, you’ll be exposed to other people who are in your situation — highly accomplished and skilled individuals who happen to also struggle with substance abuse.

Executive treatment plans give you all the creature comforts that you’re accustomed to on a high-end business trip. You can have a chef to meet your dietary needs or a personal trainer to keep you mentally and physically fit. Without worrying about the inconveniences of living at a treatment center, you’ll be able to focus on your recovery.

What is sober coaching?

You might have seen the term “sober coach” in the newspapers, describing someone who accompanies the latest celebrity around after their rehab stay. But sober coaches aren’t just for the famous — they’re for anyone who needs one-on-one guidance for early recovery.

Sober coaches have been where you are. They’re in recovery as well, and they’ve figured out how to balance sobriety with living a full and fun life. A clinician can help you identify destructive patterns or underlying mental health issues that contribute to your substance abuse. A sober coach, on the other hand, gives a more intimate approach, relating to you on a personal level. Your sober coach will be able to share that they’ve learned, giving you a glimpse into how recovery will fit into your day-to-day life.

In that way, sober coaches help to fill the gap between your life in rehab and your normal life. Rather than worrying about making the transition from treatment to home, you’ll be working to ease that transition from the start. Your sober coach will be able to give you insight into navigating social events, repairing your relationship with your children or spouse, or saying “no-thanks” to a drink at your next big work function.

Treatment that works for you

Whether you’re a high-flying executive, an artist, or an introvert who does best in small groups, you deserve to have a treatment option that works for you. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to drug and alcohol treatment.

Before signing up for treatment, think about what your priorities are. Do you want to keep in touch with work and family, or take some time away? Do you want your treatment plan to have a spiritual or religious component? What creature comforts will make you feel more at ease, and ready to tackle the hard work of recovery?

Putting in legwork ahead of time to find a treatment that is right for you can go a long way toward ensuring your success in recovery.

Sober Partners provides residential treatment in Newport Beach, California. Get more information at their website, by calling 855-982-3247, or on Facebook.

By: The Fix staff
Title: A Partnership Approach to Recovery
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/partnership-approach-recovery
Published Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2020 06:26:39 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

A Thousand Wasted Sundays

I heard the baby crying again.

I didn’t get up. I stayed, hiding in my bedroom. He needed me, but I couldn’t do it. I was too hungover. Again.

I don’t remember getting home. The last thing I recall was seeing both my hands outstretched in front of me clutching two huge jugs of Sangria. The red liquid was lapping over the sides as I declared triumphantly,

“It’s two for one!” to my wasted, smiling friends.

My life had always been one big party. A social drinker extraordinaire. A binger that never drank alone and never went home early. I wouldn’t have described my drinking as a problem. I thought I was just like everyone else, overdo it on Saturday then feel like killing myself on Sunday. That’s normal right? Wasted hungover days were as ingrained as my habit. My drinking felt ordinary, typical. You wouldn’t have picked me out as an alcoholic, you’d have thought I was great company. My addiction was clever, absorbed into everyone else’s, diluted by the crowd.

I had my first child at 34. Mothers group nights out catapulted me into a whole new style of heavy binge drinking. The mundanity of motherhood and the long gaps between piss-ups accentuated my indulgence. By the time a night out was upon me I was gagging to get annihilated. I was expected to be tucking in, singing lullaby’s and instead I was going out and dancing on speakers in a dodgy underground nightclub.

Weeks would pass of being good mummy. I had the right snacks, the softest cotton wraps and a sporty three wheeled pram. I’d fought my way out of germ-infested ball play pits and had wipes on hand for any unpredictable leeks, drips or explosions. On the outside I was doing well at my new role. But, inside I was hurting, mourning the loss of that fun party girl I knew, the one that linked arms with strangers and did bad 80’s dancing.

I wanted to go out and be me again.

Drunk me, the only me I knew.

Mum’s nights out became my escape.

I heard the crying again. There was no point in feeding him, my milk was toxic. Spoiled. The sun shone through the bedroom window, cutting the room in half. As I closed the curtains I had a sudden flash back of stumbling around in the bathroom with my bra shoved down around my waist, demanding my husband hand the baby over. I was covered in vomit.

“Get in the bath” he’d said.

I sat in the empty bath as my husband put the baby to bed with a bottle. He then plugged the hose in and sprayed me down, fully clothed, like a zookeeper that was washing a muddy elephant. I saw lumps of sick lodged in the plug hole….

The embarrassing memory stung my heart, guilt crept into my bones. Panic kicked in and filled my body with negativity. I began the slow painful demise into my hangover. My mind took over and led me down a dark and frightening path. I envisaged dreadful ways I might die; irrational thoughts filled my being.

It wasn’t meant to be this way.

I thought I’d be able to carry on being me, a Rockstar mum that partied, got the kids mohawks and wore ripped jeans. This motherhood thingy was ruining my fun, interrupting my hangovers. Giving me consequences.

I sighed as I heard the front door open and close. I guessed it was my family going out, doing fun stuff without me. Joining them wasn’t an option. I was too broken. Instead I chose to lay there in my pit of self-hatred and discontentment hoping to fall asleep.

Sleep didn’t come. Only questions did…

Why do I keep doing this? Why do I keep doing something I hate?

What’s wrong with me?

My anxiety had been getting progressively worse every time I went on a bender. Being the drunkest person at every pub, club or wake for the previous 26 years was catching up with me. I was losing my sparkle, suffering with terrible panic attacks and low self-worth. I felt depressed, I was lost and had no idea how to stop.

I tried slowing down. I failed at moderation. I drank waters between gins and ate carbs before big nights. Dry July’s dribbled down the drain along with my own sour tasting bile. None of it worked.

Then the baby.

That perfect little bundle of human that was crying beyond my bedroom door got me questioning my drinking. Questioning my life. I had a baby to look after. I had to do better.

Laying there that afternoon, smelling like a brewery with a bucket of sick next to me, I knew the time had come.

I stood up, put on my bath robe and plodded into the lounge. My son was eating spaghetti in his highchair. I leaned down and gave him a kiss on his forehead and whispered that I was sorry. I plonked myself down on the couch next to my husband and said,

“I want to stop drinking. I think I need help”

At last, I had taken responsibility for my drinking and admitted that, perhaps, I had a problem.

My husband took my hand and promised to support me. He said he hated seeing me so unwell and he told me he loved me.

The next morning, I searched the internet for help. I reached out.

I found a local counselling service and dialled the number.

“Hello, I’m Vicky. I’m a mum that hates binge drinking but can’t seem to stop. Can you help me?”

I thought she was going to laugh and say,

“Sorry love, we only deal with real alcoholics here”

But she didn’t, she said,

“Yes, we can help with that”

I booked an appointment.

That exact moment is when my sober story began. Reaching out saved me, therapy cracked me open and helped me understand my reasons why.

One Saturday, a few months after my therapy finished, I asked my husband,

“What shall we do tomorrow?”

It sounds like a simple statement, but it was the first time in my adult life I’d considered doing something on a Sunday. It was the moment I became an available parent instead of a drunken one.

I’m now a better mum that’s determined to never waste a Sunday again.

Read about my journey –

www.drunkmummysobermummy.com

By: Victoria Vanstone
Title: A Thousand Wasted Sundays
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/thousand-wasted-sundays
Published Date: Thu, 09 Jul 2020 06:24:35 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

3 Alternative Therapies for Treating Drug and Alcohol Use Disorder

There are many stereotypes about therapy and counseling. When you think about drug and alcohol treatment, you might picture yourself facing a therapist on an opposing couch, or sharing your worries and concerns in a circle of other people in early recovery. While those are common experiences, quality treatment centers provide an array of therapy options so that you can choose one that’s right for you.

Trying an unconventional approach to therapy can give you a new perspective. If you’ve felt stuck with therapeutic approaches in the past, a novel therapy approach might help you break through, giving you better understanding of the issues that contribute to your drug and alcohol abuse.

Here are 3 types of therapies that you might want to try.

Equine Therapy

Equine-assisted therapy allows clients to build their self-esteem and mental wellness through interactions with horses. During equine therapy, you’ll spend time with horses — grooming them, leading them, patting them — but you usually won’t be riding. Equine therapy is different from hippotherapy, which involves riding horses, usually to improve physical abilities and coordination. Instead of focusing on physical wellness, equine therapy encourages people to explore boundaries and emotional responses through their interactions with horses.

“The horses become metaphors for whatever the client is working on,” says Mark Frankle, M.A., LMFT, who offers equine therapy at Oceanside Malibu, a California treatment center.

During equine therapy, you’ll be guided by a mental health professional, who can help you examine your responses to various situations that you encounter with the horse. You’ll also benefit from interacting with the animal, Frankle says.

“There’s always an emotional feedback loop occurring, horses have similar neuro responses as humans”, he said. “It’s two mammals interacting; if a client is brushing or petting the horse, the horse relaxes, the person relaxes.”

Art Therapy

If you have an interest in visual art, art therapy can be a great option to explore. During art therapy, you use visual mediums to express yourself. That could mean painting, sculpting, or drawing your feelings. An art therapist will guide you through talking about your work and understanding what it might reveal about the underlying issues that could be contributing to your substance use disorder.

Many people feel that making art — rather than talking about their feelings directly — is a more comfortable way of understanding themselves. It can be less intimidating and confronting than needing to talk about your feelings directly. If you find yourself stuck around certain issues, art therapy with a qualified therapist can help you break through and make progress on your road to recovery.

Psychodrama

If you have a flair for the dramatic or have always loved being on stage, you might want to give psychodrama a try. Psychodrama often involves role-playing or acting. By examining your response to different situations, you can gain insight into your own emotional motivations. Your therapist can act as the director, urging you to try different approaches problem-solving and conflict resolutions. That way, you’re able in order to practice various solutions in a safe space.

The role-play aspect of psychodrama isn’t just fun — it also allows you to practice what you’ve learned in therapy, perfecting it before you have to use it in the real world.

What to look for from a therapist

Whether you’re doing traditional talk therapy, or opting for a more unique approach like psychodrama, equine therapy or art therapy, you should always look for a qualified provider. The tenets of cognitive behavioral therapy, a proven method, underlie all of these different approaches. Look for a counselor who is knowledgeable about CBT, and certified in the specific form of therapy that you’d like to explore.

Learn more about Oceanside Malibu at http://oceansidemalibu.com/. Reach Oceanside Malibu by phone at (866) 738-6550. Find Oceanside Malibu on Facebook.

By: The Fix staff
Title: 3 Alternative Therapies for Treating Drug and Alcohol Use Disorder
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/3-alternative-therapies-treating-drug-and-alcohol-use-disorder
Published Date: Tue, 07 Jul 2020 08:11:03 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974

Unacceptable

Even if they’ve only dipped their toes into Alcoholics Anonymous, recovering alcoholics and addicts are familiar with one of the organization’s go-to passages: the Serenity Prayer.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

True to its first line, the recitation’s overarching message is that most matters are beyond our control. The vast majority of items within our power to change are internal: our thinking, our actions, our sobriety. Many of us, myself included, are recovering control freaks accustomed to banging our heads against the wall in vain attempts to get the world around us, including its inhabitants, to bend to our will. In sobriety, we learn that placing outsized expectations on others invariably leads to disappointment and resentment.

As someone who is decidedly not a “God person,” I have found the Serenity Prayer refreshingly non-religious and spiritually simple. Its first word aside, the passage logically dissects the overwhelming majority of situations into two columns: those that I can do something about, and those that I can’t and must therefore, however begrudgingly, accept. All that is required of me is an honest assessment of which column any given matter occupies.

This binary system has helped successfully steer me through nearly nine years of sobriety and all the marital, financial, interpersonal and attitudinal progress it has made possible. For someone who lacks a traditional God, it has been… well, a godsend.

Until now. Until COVID-19.

A Delicate Dance

After three months of house confinement, Americans are beginning to reemerge and reengage. Vaccine or no vaccine, the reopening was inevitable because the opposite was unworkable: if we didn’t start returning to some semblance of business as usual, there wouldn’t be an economy to return to. Unemployment figures exceeding 40 million simply aren’t sustainable. Zero income is not an outcome and, while many of us can work effectively from home, most can’t make a living from their laptops.

So here we are, restrictions easing, preparing to head back out into the world. Successfully reopening the economy will require a critical mass of people to perform a delicate dance of mask-wearing and social distancing. And already, the Serenity Prayer’s well-founded advice of limiting our expectations of others runs into a stubborn contradiction: it is one thing when the actions of others merely threaten to impinge upon our spiritual well-being; it is quite another when those actions threaten our very lives.

Expert simulations have shown that if 80 percent of the population wore masks, infection rates would plunge by more than 90 percent; a study published by the World Health Organization on June 1 aligns with these findings.

Americans’ response has been… mixed. A USA Today poll found that 84% of Americans have worn masks in public, while other surveys put the total closer to two-thirds – figures that, unsurprisingly, include a gap according to political leanings. The protracted nature of our efforts is an additional hurdle, as many are understandably fed up with treating every excursion like a germ gauntlet; even in epicenters like New York, there are signs of citizens waning on safe practices, prompting warnings from government officials.

My daily life reflects these concerns. Each day, I go into my empty office (my colleagues are currently working from home; I have a visual disability, and the customized setup at my office makes working there far easier). While offices are mostly empty, the building manager has taken the opportunity to undergo a renovation. The number of workers wearing masks? Close to zero.

A few weeks back I got into the elevator. Then a worker – sans mask – got on with me.

I got off the elevator, shaking my head. The displeasure on his bare face was evident. Apparently my self-preservation had offended him.

This isn’t a spiritual inconvenience; it’s a potentially life-and-death health issue. The two choices I had were physically endangering myself and my family, or offending someone. I chose the latter, because the former is simply unacceptable.

It is a microcosm of what recovering alcoholics everywhere now face. In exercising the courage to change what we can – in my case, proximity to someone who refuses to abide by the simple recommendations of health officials – we will inevitably do something else we are taught to avoid: cause friction and conflict with those around us.

With COVID-19, we are living through a crisis that is both all-permeating and all-important. Efforts to mitigate the spread of a deadly, highly contagious disease have touched every single American and stretched into every corner of the economy and society at large. Everyone has been forced to react to it as best they deem fit.

Therein lies the rub: something all-encompassing and lethal has been foisted upon society without warning, causing a widely disparate set of perceived best practices to combat it. Many of us are on the same page – wearing face masks, socially distancing – but many are not. And considering the stakes, the majority of responsible citizens are ill-advised to tolerate the significant minority of those literally throwing caution to the wind around their bare faces.

In this fashion, COVID-19 has drawn a red line between recovering alcoholics and the crucial tenet of acceptance espoused by the Serenity Prayer.

An Inconvenient Lack of Truth

I feel comfortable sharing exactly none of what I just wrote in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. Why? Because AA is a strictly apolitical organization attempting to navigate a society in which indisputable facts have become politicized.

Until COVID-19, this was manageable, because topics whose facts have been tainted by politics – climate change is a prime example – are easily avoided. They don’t directly factor into our day-to-day recovery.

In stark contrast, the coronavirus pandemic has affected everything. It saturates every aspect of our lives, including AA. For example, we aren’t meeting on Zoom because of climate change, or the #MeToo Movement, or Donald Trump’s latest Tweet. And even if we were, it wouldn’t trickle down into essentially every action every person takes.

But such is COVID’s cascading impact: an unprecedented health crisis has caused an unprecedented recovery conundrum – and one that we can’t even talk about as a group, no less. Unfortunately, a sizable subset of society seemingly doesn’t believe in simple science; and AA, of course, is simply a subset of society. The problem is societal, and we are part of society.

Regardless, even if I could share this in AA, it wouldn’t change the current contradictions of applying my recovery’s teachings in the outside world. That guy is still getting on that elevator without a mask, AA or no AA. I cannot choose to just stand there, and a proselytizing conversation only invites further conflict and confrontation. My only answer – the least bad option – is abrupt, unsettling, silent avoidance.

In this fashion, COVID-19 has made recovery more brusque, curt, cold. I cannot convert the maskless masses, nor can I abide them. I did not recover from a progressive, incurable and potentially fatal disease, alcoholism, only to succumb to another.

By: Christopher Dale
Title: Unacceptable
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/unacceptable
Published Date: Thu, 02 Jul 2020 06:38:27 +0000

At New Horizon Drug Rehab, we understand addiction. If you or a family member are afflicted with addiction or substance abuse we can help. We work with the top centers throughout the US to provide the best detox and addiction treatments available.

Call Now: (877) 747-9974