Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm

Addiction – a chronic relapsing brain disorder, and a disease that gets deeply personal. It gets low-down and dirty, too.

If you’re not an addict yourself, you surely know someone who is.

You know someone abusing their opioid prescriptions, not because it’s a barrier to their pain, but because it’s a potent way to make them feel happier. You know someone whose alcohol consumption is dangerously high and verging on alcoholic – if they’re not already there, of course. Your kids will certainly know someone who abuses recreational drugs like they were going out of fashion. They’ll also know other students who swallow ADHD prescription tablets (as a study aid) because it makes them get their grades, and keeps their parents, people like you, happy.

Among the people who are in your extended family, among your circle of friends, or someone within your workplace – at the very least, one, probably several more, will be a secret drug addict or an alcoholic. At the very least.

It doesn’t discriminate. It certainly doesn’t care where you live either, just like most other diseases, and now this new coronavirus – COVID-19.

Arizona & The Opioid Crisis

Over the last 3 years, in Arizona alone, there have been more than 5,000 opioid-related deaths. Add to that the 40,000-plus opioid overdoses that have taken place during the same period, and you realize that COVID-19 has never been the only serious health issue the state continues to face, or the rest of the U.S., for that matter.

In our “new reality” of social distancing and masks, more than 2 people every single day die from an opioid overdose in Arizona. Nearly half of those are aged 25-44 years old – in their prime, you might say.

Opioids are not the only addictive group of substances that is costing young Arizonan lives right now either.

From the abuse of “study aid” drugs, like Adderall and other ADHD medications, to the “party drugs,” like cocaine and ecstacy, and so to opioid prescription meds, and, if circumstances allow, a slow and deadly progression to heroin – addiction is damaging lives, if not ending them way too soon.

These drugs did so before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19, and they’ll continue to do so after, or even if the world ultimately finds another drug – the elusive coronavirus vaccine – it is hoping for.

Opioids + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm

We now live in this time of coronavirus. With the ongoing opioid epidemic, the question arises:

How can the addiction treatment community continue to assist people who are now being left even more isolated and desperate, still with their chronic desire to get as high as they can, or drunker than yesterday?

Furthermore, coronavirus has raised questions itself about the ongoing mental health needs of our population as a whole, and drug addicts and alcoholics continue to feature heavily in any statistics you offer up about those in the U.S. living with a mental health disorder.

In fact, around half of those with a substance use disorder (SUD) or an alcohol use disorder (AUD) – the medical terminology for addiction – are simultaneously living with their own mental health disorder, such as major depression, severe anxiety or even a trauma-related disorder like PTSD.

How are these predominantly socially-disadvantaged people able to receive the treatment they really need when they have been directed to isolate and socially distance themselves even further?

This is why I believe the conditions for a “perfect storm” of widespread deteriorating mental health and self-medication through continued substance abuse are here now, with overdoses and fatalities rising across the addiction spectrum.

There will be many drug or alcohol abusers living in Arizona who will be lost to us, and the majority will be young people in the age group of 25-44 mentioned previously, left isolated and unnoticed by an over-occupied medical community.

The U.S. opioid epidemic plus the global coronavirus pandemic.

A deceitfully isolating disorder in a time of generalized social isolation. For some, there will be no safe harbor from this, and it will wash them away from the lives of their families and friends without any chance of rescue whatsoever. The perfect storm – our perfect storm.

Today, the truth is that successful addiction recovery has become exponentially more difficult. Apart from ongoing isolation to contend with, there exists an unfounded but very real distrust of medical facilities per se, and a real personal problem in maintaining good physical and mental health practices, eg. through nutrition and physical activity.

Innovation: The Ideal Recovery Answer for Isolated Substance Addicts?

Digital technology has advanced far further than its creators and financial promoters ever envisaged – or has it? We have become a society where it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you’re always close by to loved ones you wish to talk to, friends you want to have a laugh with, and colleagues you need to share information with.

Communication anywhere with anyone is as simple as the proverbial ABC.

However, if you think that innovation and digital technology – sitting in front of your laptop or tablet, in other words – can provide the answers to the questions raised earlier about the timely provision of professional addiction or mental health treatment to those that need it, then you’re wrong. If only it were all that simple and straightforward.

Online meetings of 12-Step organizations, like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and others, have been available for many years. However, all of these support organizations realize that an online or virtual 12-Step meeting is not the real thing. They are a temporary substitute and no more.

In fact, they are a poor substitute when compared to the face-to-face and hands-on meetings that continue to be held successfully all over the nation and all year round.

The various “sober aware” and “sober curious” communities that are present online do not provide a realistic treatment option to any substance addicts whatsoever, whether their SUD or AUD has been clinically diagnosed or not. Furthermore, the current crop of online addiction treatment and recovery programs available are currently statistically unproven in terms of successful outcomes, and with no official accreditation.

That said, there is limited evidence that “telemental health care” does have several benefits in terms of more timely interventions in those with mental illness generally, particularly when these people are located in isolated communities.

I honestly wouldn’t know, as there is no official patient outcome data for these services. In fact, by the time that data is able to be impartially and officially collected, these groups and so-called programs may have already lost their internet presence.

Online “help” (you honestly couldn’t call it an actual treatment) with addiction is severely limited and nowhere near approaching the answer. Here’s exactly why…

Substance addiction is an utterly isolating disorder. It can obliterate close family bonds, destroy what keeps us close together as friends, and will happily rampage unabated through any social life you may still hold onto, accepting no prisoners. Bleak isolation like you’ve never known before.

Corona has little on addiction.

Addiction is the catalyst behind premature death, the end of families and their marriages, long-term unemployment, and endless legal issues. It costs financially too – countless billions of dollars every year are lost to this disorder, over double that of any other neurological disease.

Let me be absolutely clear and concise – there exists no replacement whatsoever for your hand held by another when lying in an intensive care bed, scared you’ll become just another coronavirus statistic, and there exists no replacement for the smiles, warmth, and openness of fellow recovering drug addicts meeting in a daily support group, especially on those days when you came so close, so very close, to using or drinking again.

There’s little difference between the two either.

The online addiction treatment industry is still in its childhood. It truly is an industry too, as you’ll only buy the brand and the product; you’ll never actually meet those telling you how to best change your life.

At present, it falls woefully short.

Really, what would you prefer? A mask-wearing addiction professional, clinically qualified to assist with your detox, your medication if needed, and your psychological needs, located in an accredited treatment facility (formally certified as being coronavirus-free), among peers, fellow addicts, and trained medical staff?

Or a video image on a computer screen of someone you will never meet, who is telling you to do things you’ve never done before? At least, successfully?

As society moves towards a more home-orientated existence, with WFH (working from home) the new norm, consider this:

Would a specialized medical professional treating your disease ask you to consider “getting better from home,” as an alternative to the hospital?

All we can hope for – the best that we can hope for – is that coronavirus soon leaves the state lines of Arizona, and that can continue all of our recoveries as successfully as before. Until then, the advice is simple – take the best help you can from wherever you can get it. Sadly, you are yet to find it on a computer screen.

One last thought before I sign off…

Protective masks may well become standard attire in our unknown future. So why, oh why, can they not make these transparent? Just take a moment… We’d be able to see each other – our friends, our colleagues, even complete strangers in the street – smile again.

By: Robert Castan
Title: Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/opinion-opioid-crisis-covid-19-perfect-storm
Published Date: Thu, 08 Oct 2020 07:49:22 +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

The Five Pillars of Recovery from Trauma and Addiction

In my forty-five years, I enjoyed twelve years of quasi-normal childhood, which ended abruptly when I was raped. I spent the next ten years in a dangerous dance with addiction, suicide attempts, and more trauma. But then I reached a turning point, and my past twenty-three years have been spent healing and learning what works for me in building long-term recovery.

There is no standard set of blueprints for long-term recovery, as everyone is different, but I have identified five pillars that have enabled me to build on a strong foundation of recovery. My daily choice not to use substances forms that foundation, and these rock-solid pillars stabilize that recovery into an impenetrable structure. These five pillars are not unique, and they do require work, but once built, they will stabilize your recovery fortress.

1. Maintain rigorous honesty. In addiction, our lives were built upon lies and false narratives we told ourselves and others. But recovery demands honesty—only when we can admit the truth can we begin to heal. I had to get honest with myself about my addiction. I had to own it and then take a brutally honest assessment of my life. We cannot build a sustainable recovery on a false narrative. When we lie, we enable sickness, secrets, shame, and suffering.

Dishonesty makes us vulnerable in all the wrong ways, but honesty conjures the true vulnerability we require to discover authenticity. Start practicing honesty in all your interactions—beginning with yourself. This must be the first pillar because without honesty, the rest will crumble. Anything created in a lie is chaos, and anything created in chaos will end in chaos.

2. Expose your secrets. You cannot soak in the joy of today if your soul is still filled with yesterday’s garbage. Take out that trash. For me, this meant diving deep and pulling forth all the trauma, pain, and sorrow that I had packed tightly away. I thought this was for my benefit—why bring up old stuff? But in fact my secrets were keeping me sick. They were smoldering under this new foundation I was building in recovery, threating to burn it all down.

Secrets require silence to thrive, and they allow shame to fester inside of us. Shame is an emotional cancer that, if left untreated, will destroy our recovery. I began by slowly exposing my secrets in my journal. At first, it was the only safe space for me. As I began to trust others in recovery, I began to share those secrets, and the smoldering was extinguished by their compassion and understanding. Begin exposing your own secrets. What thoughts and memories are you afraid to give voice to? Those are the secrets that will keep you sick if you do not get them out.

3. Let go. All those secrets take up a tremendous amount of space in our mind, body, and soul. We must find ways to process that pain into something productive, useful, and healing. You must unleash this pain so it no longer occupies your mind, body, and soul. When you do this, you make room for hope, light, love, and compassion.

Writing is my release. But when physical emotional energy rises in me, I need more intense physical activity to push the energy out of my body. I use a spin bike and weightlifting, but you might run, walk, or practice yoga—any activity that gets your heart rate up and helps you sweat, which I think of as negative energy flowing out. When I do this, I am calmer, I am kinder, and I am more the person I want to be. Meditation is another way for me to simply let go and sit with myself when my thoughts are plaguing me or I feel stuck emotionally. I often use mediational apps, guided mediations, or music to help me meditate. When you find what works for you, do it daily. Recovery is like a muscle; when it is flexed, it remains strong.

4. Remember you aren’t alone. Connection is core to feeling hopeful. By interacting with other trauma survivors and others in recovery, you become part of a group of people with similar experiences who have learned how to survive. Being able to share those pieces of your past with others is incredibly powerful. Seek out support groups in your area, attend meetings, reconnect with healthy people from your past, and pursue activities you enjoy to help you meet like-minded people. Create the circle of people you want in your life—the ones who will hold you accountable yet provide you with unconditional support and love, without judgment.

In our addiction, we push these people away. We run from them because they act like mirrors to our dishonesty. In recovery, these people become the ones we turn to when things get hard. Even one such person in your life—a family member, friend, sponsor, or trusted colleague—can make a difference. Surround yourself with those who seek to build you up.

5. Know you matter. In order to grow, heal, and build upon your recovery foundation, you have to believe you are worth it, that you deserve joy and love. At some point in your recovery, you will have to rely on yourself to get through a rough patch. When this happened to me, I had to really dig down and get to know myself. I had to strip away all the false narratives I used to define myself, all the ways I presented myself to the world and to myself. Who was I? What did I love about myself, and what brought me enough joy to feel worthiness?

I now know what I need to feel calm, to feel beautiful, and to feel deserving of this amazing life of recovery. I matter, and my life in recovery matters so much. It is this core truth that makes me fight for my recovery, my sanity, my marriage, and my job, because they are all worth it. I am worth the fight, and so are you. Believe in yourself. Tell yourself that you deserve happiness, joy, success, and a life free from the pain of trauma and addiction. You are worth your recovery. It is the foundation on which you build your new life.

Building any structure requires hard work, and recovery is no different. While we each require different tools and plans to create them, these five pillars will sustain our recovery from trauma and addiction.


Jennifer Storm’s Awakening Blackout Girl: A Survivor’s Guide for Healing from Addiction and Sexual Trauma is now available at Amazon and elsewhere.

By: Jennifer Storm
Title: The Five Pillars of Recovery from Trauma and Addiction
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/five-pillars-recovery-trauma-and-addiction
Published Date: Wed, 07 Oct 2020 07:36:21 +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


We’re together for the first time in five years, the three of us. Three sisters. Terry, the oldest, pastes us together with persistence and illusion. She believes we can be a family, that we are a family. Julie, the youngest, bites her lower lip and wears a worried brow, even while she drives her red Miata with the top down to her job as a South Carolina attorney. She left home for law school fifteen years ago and comes back only for weddings or other landmark celebrations like this, or for Christmas every two years. And me, in the middle. I moved to Connecticut almost twenty years ago to cut free from my tangled roots, I thought, and to be near the hospital where I learned to stop drinking and to want to live again.

I suspect my newest illness—Chronic Fatigue Syndrome—structures my life in a way my family must find limiting. At least that’s what I think when I hear their voices in my head. You’re tired all the time? Go to bed earlier. You can’t think straight? You’re an Ivy League graduate, for heaven’s sake. Start jogging again. You’ll feel better.

But when I’m tucked away, writing in the pretty place on Long Island Sound I call home, half an hour from Manhattan, surrounded by people who drive German and Italian cars and wear Prada and Polo, I pretend their success is mine and that my medical bills and dwindling bank accounts and lost jobs and derailed relationships don’t much.

When I return Upstate to the tricky terrain on chilly Lake Ontario, though, my creative ambitions seem paltry and a little suspect. I feel I’ve failed. But, I remind myself, I’m thin. And I used to have enviable, respectable jobs. And I saw the Picasso exhibit at the Met. I hang onto those vanities like life preservers tossed to me in rough seas.

We’re together to celebrate our mother’s birthday, her seventy-fifth. Each of us brings her gifts to the party. Collectively, we also bring 130 years of survival skills, learned, not on some Outward-Bound wilderness adventure with a trusted coach, but in this family, where I, at least, believed no one was to be trusted.


For three weeks, we made plans. When I called to ask Terry what I could contribute to the buffet, she discouraged me from bringing anything other than Tom. “As for sleeping arrangements,” she mused. “I’ll put Julie and Ken in the guest room. You can sleep in Katie’s room, and Tom can take the den.” She paused. “But the pullout sleeps two if you want to stay with him.” 

Terry and I have been sisters for forty-four years. We emerged, screaming, flailing, from the same womb, played hide and seek in the same neighborhood, suffered algebra in the same high school. But before that clause (“. . . if you want to stay with Tom.”), we never talked about touching men or sleeping with them. When I hung up and told Tom about this tender talk between my sister and me, I was baffled when he said, “I guess they think I’m okay.” How could he shape so private a moment between Terry and me into something about him? But I shook off his self-absorption. He’s not Catholic. He wasn’t raised in a home where no one touched without wriggling to get free. And he doesn’t know how important it is to try to get to know your sister when you’ve spent three decades shoring up the distance from her and you’re no longer sure why.

When I called Julie, she railed because Terry decided the party date and time without asking her. “Why did I offer to help if she’s taking care of everything?”

I’m the middle sister. I’m in the middle, again and always, but I welcomed Julie’s rant. Any connection would feel better than the unexplained plateau we tolerated between us since her marriage ten years earlier. “I don’t know what to wear,” she said, trying to regain her equilibrium.

“Pants and a sweater maybe,” I posited gingerly, not wanting to sever the tentative thread between us. “April’s still winter upstate.”

“I might need something new.” The thought of a shopping mission jumpstarted Julie’s party stride. “They’re all on special diets,” she said, “so we’ll need to make sure everyone has something to eat. Dad can’t have nuts, remember?”

* * * * * *

Tom and I set out late Friday morning, my mood dipping as we rode the thruway into Rockland County and beyond. The sky hung as heavy and gray as it did six months ago when we went home for Thanksgiving, me with the same faint hope. Maybe this time things will be different.

When we pulled into Terry and Bill’s driveway five hours later, stiff from sitting, Dad rushed to the door, his hair whiter and thinner. For a moment I mistook him for his father. And before he hugged me, I remembered that one Father’s Day brunch, when my father raged at his father because Grandpa couldn’t hear the waitress when she rattled off the holiday specials. “Stop!” I yelled. Why did I need to tell him to stop hurting his father? All I wanted was to be his favorite girl.

His favorite girl? A dicey proposition. “How’s my favorite girl?” he’d ask when he hustled in, late—again—for dinner.

“We don’t have favorites,” Mom was quick to point out as she slid a reheated plate across the table to him.

Stop. I pulled myself back to Terry’s foyer. We hadn’t yet said hello, and I had dredged the silt of the River Past. Say hello. My father hugged me tight—he at least was generous with his hugs, though from him they never stopped feeling dangerous. We don’t have favorites. Although I hugged back, I stiffened in his arms and drew away too quickly. “You remember Tom?” Then I kissed Mom who, smaller than she used to be, still held her affection in reserve. “Hi, hon.”

“You made it.” Terry said, smiling as she came in from the kitchen, wearing a gingham apron over her Mom jeans. “How was the drive?”

As soon as I answered— “An hour or two too long”—I wondered if she thought my words meant I didn’t want to be there. We attempted a hug, and I held on a little too long, searching for something bigger, warmer, because in her stiffness, I heard questions. Is she angry because I don’t do my share? (Who wouldn’t be?) That she’s the one who drives Dad to his cataract surgery and perms Mom’s hair? (Of course, she’s angry.)

“Nice outfit,” she said, and I resisted suggesting a livelier hair color for her.

When Terry offered her cheek for a quick kiss, I saw Julie at the edge of the foyer, half in, half out, arms crossed. “You look great,” I said, hoping to breathe a little fire into her. “Hi.” She stretched the one syllable to two, an octave higher than her normal speaking voice, trying to sound different than she looked, as if she were frozen, unable to come closer.

Hungry?” Terry asked.

“Starved,” I said, not letting on that, more than food, I wanted a belly full of comfort.

Tom and I brought in the dinner fixings—ravioli and salad greens I bought at Stewart’s market, bread and cheesecake from Josephine’s bakery—and Terry, Julie and I set about making the meal. Before Terry lifted the lid from the cooking ravioli, I knew she would sample one before she pronounced, “They’re done.” Then she would wrap the dish towel around the pot so she wouldn’t burn herself when she lifted it from the stove and dumped the steaming pasta into her twenty-year-old stainless colander with the rickety feet in the sink.

I knew, too, how Julie would stand at the counter, her shoulders sloping forward, while she diced tomatoes and chopped garlic.

I knew their rhythms, their postures, but I wanted to reach to them, to ask them please, would they look at me, would they be my friends. Instead, I wondered why it seemed so hard to say something spontaneous, or to laugh from our bellies.

“Stewart’s was so crowded when I shopped, I had to meditate to steady myself when I got home, even before I unloaded my bags.”

They turned to me when I took a stab at something genuine, but their tilted heads, their uncomprehending eyes signaled they didn’t know know how post-shopping meditation worked or why it should be necessary.

“How are the grocery prices in Connecticut?” Terry asked, and my hope for connection vaporized as rapidly as the steam rising off the ravioli.


Party day. Relatives arrive from across the county. My cousin, Peter, the accountant, the one I was sure, when I was six, I would marry, with his wife, Marie, still perky, still chatty, still in love. My teacher cousin, Patricia, with her professor husband, Art, who sports a ponytail and more stomach than when I saw him last. Janice, married to Cousin Dave, squints as she walks in the door. “Madeleine?” She needs time to adjust to the light. “It’s been fifteen years!” She stretches out her arms and hugs me the way I want my sisters to hug me. “I’ve missed you.”

One cousin, Karen, the one who took too many pills ten years ago, isn’t here. But her brothers are, and I feel like a part of them should be missing because their sister is dead. As if maybe each of them should be minus an ear or a hand, some physical part because Karen died. How is it you two are here when your sister isn’t?

My uncles walk in, proud of their new plastic knees and hips. Here are my aunts, who shampooed my hair with castile soap, taught me to bake Teatime Tassies, and let me dress up in their yellowed wedding dresses in their dark attics. Each of them hobble-shuffles in, looking a little dazed by all the fuss.

For almost twenty years, I kept my distance from these relatives, these potential friends, visiting every year or so for a day or two of polite, disingenuous conversation. I needed to banish myself, I suppose. After all, there was the drinking, and the fact that I hadn’t amounted to much, given all that potential they all told me I had. But at this party I look them in the eyes when I talk, trying to recover a little of what I lost by staying away. Uncle Frank tells me my maladies must emanate from some emotional twist, or from the fact that I’m alone, away from my family. Like a working man’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez, he confides magically real stories about men from the factory who went blind from jealousy or ended up in wheelchairs from unexpressed fears. “Why don’t you come home, honey?” Home? Is this still my home? Was it ever?

There’s a lot of red in this house, I notice, when I scan the crowd. Except for Terry, whose hair still imitates the non-offensive light brown we were born with, each of us female cousins wear some shade or other of red hair: medium red beech; burgundy berry; Cinna berry; sunset blonde. And though my mother and her two sisters didn’t plan this, each of them is in red: tiny Aunt Emma in the knit dress she wore for last year’s Christmas portrait with her ten grandchildren; Aunt Anna in a red and black striped twinset with a black skirt; and Mom in a red blazer and skirt. They sit on the couch, one wearing a strand of pearls, another a locket, the other her “good” watch because this is a special occasion.

All this red surprises me. We’re not what you’d call a red family. We may glower underneath; but as a rule, we don’t flare or flame. The Slavic temperament prefers to smolder chalky gray, while the red burns beneath the surface.

They look too small, these women, sitting next to each other, after I ask to take their picture. And there’s too much distance between them. I want them to scrunch together—which they won’t—so they seem closer.

No matter how far apart, though, it’s important that these three little women are together on this sofa, posing. Aunt Anna never used to let us take her picture. But maybe, like me, she knows there is something final about this portrait. Each of them is ill. Aunt Emma is diabetic; and, although we don’t yet know this, a cancer is growing in her left breast, just above her heart. Aunt Anna’s Parkinson’s disease is progressing, and Mom has a bad heart. I don’t know these specifics as I see these three women through my lens, but I know it’s inevitable. Something will happen to them soon.

The flash goes off on my camera. Once. Twice. “That’s it.” Aunt Anna waves me away with her shaky arm. “Enough pictures.” She pushes herself off the couch and turns on the television to watch a golf tournament. The moment is over, but I have it on film, and in my heart.


Mom is failing, Cousin Pat wrote in her holiday note about Aunt Emma. And when I called Aunt Anna on Christmas, she told me how she fell three times during the last month and Terry confirmed that, like Aunt Emma, Aunt Anna was failing.

My father didn’t use the same word to describe my mother. Failing wasn’t a word that would come easily to him. But he apprised me in detail about Mom’s last neurologist appointment, when she would see him next, how he would adjust her medication schedule: eight in the morning, noon, four in the afternoon, and seven-thirty at night. I admired the way he structured her care. But when he barked at her to come to the phone, my stomach gripped. I worried he might be hurting her.

After hanging up, I reached for the portrait of my mother and her sisters. I wondered. In twenty-five years, when my sisters and I are smaller, when we sit together for a picture on Terry’s seventy-fifth birthday, how much space would hang between us? Would we be able to reach across the distance—and our failings—to touch each other, to smile? I didn’t know. But I knew this: if I hoped to touch them in the future, I needed to reach to them now, as they are, not as I would have them be.

Terry and Julie and I won’t sit for a portrait on Terry’s seventy-fifth birthday. She left us last year, victimized by a rare immune disorder, when she was sixty-two. So, there will be no photo. Only the memory of wanting one. And the hope, too long postponed, that the distance between us would narrow if we only reached to one another, even if just a little.

By: Marleen Pasch
Title: Failing
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/failing
Published Date: Mon, 05 Oct 2020 07:46:37 +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

Zion Recovery

Zion Recovery makes it clear from the get-go that its approach to recovery is rooted in spirituality and that they are not like other treatment centers. In their unique approach, they consider each participant a “Student of Recovery” whose purpose in treatment is to attain the “tools, education, and spiritual connection” necessary to resolve their issues. Zion strongly believes that combining spiritual-based principles with the traditional 12-step program provides more effective treatment for addiction and mental health conditions than typical treatment centers. Part of that spiritual foundation comes from from the serenity of the canyons found at the gateway to Zion National Park, where the facility is located.

Executive Director Robert Beatty has personal experience with addiction. He built Zion Recovery nine years ago after finally discovering a path to recovery.

“I have a personal knowledge of the pain and destruction caused by addiction,” he says. “I watched it destroy my family, my spirituality and my life. I made a decision nine years ago to turn my life over to the care of God, and get busy living.”

In addition to addiction, Zion Recovery offers inpatient treatment for depression, chronic pain, PTSD, and trauma. They also offer intervention help and other family services. Treatment includes equine/adventure therapy — Beatty is an avid mountain climber himself. They also offer alternative modalities such as Theta Healing and Whole Body Light Stimulation.

Most alumni who responded to our survey entered the program for addiction disorders, with a couple seeking treatment for chronic pain. Fellow patients came from a range of income levels, professions, and age groups from their 20s to their 50s.

“We were of multiple religions, backgrounds and occupations,” wrote one respondent. “We all had occupations and family situations that were unique, yet very similar aspects that brought us here. It felt as if we all gave enough of a damn to show up.”

Some residents had a private room and others had roommates, but dividers were available for privacy. Living areas were described as “spacious” and beds as “comfy.” Daily life was described as structured with many activities available in addition to multiple educational sessions, group meetings, and therapy. Though residents are expected to keep their living areas clean, there were “no chores unless you asked for them.”

Amenities and activities at the Zion Recovery include “Yoga, equine therapy, individual therapy, group educational meetings about the 12 Step Program, Pool in summer months.” One former resident appreciated that there was “Plenty of acreage to be able to be outside and enjoy the beautiful scenery.” They even took a memorable trip to the Grand Canyon, which was “magnificent.” A full gym is available, as well as a sauna and hot tub, plus a pool in the summer months. A trainer is available a couple times per week.

Alumni generally rated the food at the retreat highly. Healthy eating is emphasized, with portion control and minimal sugar. Zion Recovery has a dedicated cook who makes all the meals and snacks “like moms make.” Snacks are always available, from chips to fresh fruits and vegetables. One former resident loved the “crock pot meals” and enjoyed eating with the staff “like a big family.” Another described “world class smoothies,” and while one respondent did not enjoy the pot roast, overall the food was described as good healthy home cooking.

When it comes to phone and internet access, most alumni reported being able to use the phone daily during free time. One alum appreciated a break from their phone, saying “I needed to get away from all that stuff, old friend, Facebook, Instagram, too much drama.” Others said that there was limited access to the internet or that online time had to be scheduled in advance. TV is available for watching in the evenings and in between classes if there’s time.

Rules are described as “common sense” and easy to follow. In fact, more than one alum reported that they weren’t aware of any infractions at all. Those who did noted that staff was very calm and respectful in how they handled it, with small violations being met with warnings. More serious infractions are handled privately between the resident and staff.

“I was never put down or made to feel bad, but I would walk through what I did [and] they helped me to take responsibility and that was just what I needed,” said one person.

Treatment at the center was generally described as more permissive rather than staff taking a “tough love” approach. Alumni described a structured atmosphere where they were encouraged to go outside their comfort zones, but nobody is forced to get better if they don’t want to. “It was about focusing your energy toward what was good and positive and meaningful for each individual.”

There are medically-trained staff on site, and doctors who demonstrated “excellent care and concern” are “available as needed via TeleMed Video chat.” Most respondents rated the doctors and nurses highly, praising them for their understanding and individualized, “no cookie cutter treatment.” Another was grateful and credited staff for discovering a heart condition and saving their life. On the other hand, one client was unhappy with the sleep medication they were given while in treatment.

Zion Recovery uses a 12-step program, and former residents report that although spirituality is emphasized, it is not specifically religious. One alum described it as “Not Religious, but Spiritual, based upon each student’s beliefs and experiences regarding Spirituality or Higher Power.” Those who wanted to attend religious services were accommodated: “Utah is mostly LDS, so church services are offered if that is desired.”

More than anything, survey respondents raved about the personalized treatment approach that avoided one-size-fits-all solutions that had failed them in the past. One former resident was allowed to bring their dogs when they couldn’t find a place for them to stay, and others enjoyed working with Robert Beatty himself.

“Robert is the only one that has been able to actually teach the Steps to me in a way I related to,” wrote one alum. “He taught us individually as needed as well. He does take a faith-based approach, but tailored to each student’s experience with their own spirituality.”

Most of the alumni who took our survey report that they are still clean and sober since leaving Zion Recovery, attributing their success to what they learned while in treatment: “I have such a huge tool-box of sober living strategies I developed during my stay,” said one alum. Another agrees: “Going there was one of the best things I’ve ever done and the tools and inspiration I received there have helped me in faith, family, finance, and fitness.”

By: The Fix staff
Title: Zion Recovery
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/zion-recovery
Published Date: Mon, 05 Oct 2020 06:22:12 +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

How to Quit Drinking: The Princess Is in Another Castle

The first thing I did when I started to think that I probably absolutely had to stop drinking was finally reach out to a close friend for the phone number of a friend of hers who had been sober for half a decade. I had met this woman maybe twice in my life before she happily agreed to meet me for coffee and I told her the dark rot of the knowledge that I had been holding in my soul: I probably, maybe, might have just a wee bit of a drinking problem. We sat in a booth at a coffee shop on Gottingen street while I spoke and cried and she listened, and then while she spoke and I cried and listened. Then she slid a meeting list across the table to me.

An AA meeting list. AA. I don’t want to go to AA. I felt my spine prickle, even though I had already looked up the meeting list online and found two agnostic/atheist meetings. I thought I had already reluctantly decided to go, but my internal reaction to her suggestion told me that I would likely have talked myself out of it.

Then she said what I needed to hear, “look, it worked for me. I went every day for a year. Now I haven’t been in ages. Take what you need and leave the rest. And remember, AA is like anywhere else. You’re probably going to hate a bunch of the people there. Don’t worry about it.”

It’s pretty hard to argue with that.

When I was a kid I played a lot of Super Mario. Each level ends with a castle and inside the castle there is a boss that you have to battle. Until you reach the end, Toadstool, another character in the game, shows up after you defeat the boss to tell you that the princess is in another castle. For two years leading up to that coffee, I had tried in every which way to control my drinking. I kept ending up back at the beginning, but with a whole new set of obstacles on top of the old ones, new things to fear as the dark night set in. Nice try, but the princess is in another castle.

For some reason, before I went into the castle where Bowser (the final boss) actually was, where the princess was hiding with the solution to my drinking problem, I had to go through all these other levels, fighting a bunch of battles, all the while belligerently dragging a 6 pack of IPA behind me.

Eventually, you do end up at the final castle, either shrunk down and small or tall and whipping fireballs, and you go in to fight the final boss.

This is how I killed Bowser.

The final castle

  1. I stopped drinking.* (*BIG MEDICAL CAVEAT: detoxing can be deadly. It is always a good idea to speak to your primary care provider before doing so.)

I know, I know. I’m sorry. I felt adrift and alone. I doubted myself. I got angry at the unfairness of it all. But it was mine. No one was going to do it for me, or even with me.

  1. I carried my fear.

When anyone stops drinking, it because they found one night, one afternoon, one instance where they just said to themselves, this is it. I have to grab this time, this one time out of many, many unacceptable moments, and run with it. Those moments are strong, but like any strong emotion, they are fleeting. So, I did whatever I could to carry my fear of not stopping around with me. I didn’t let myself hear the less scary story I was trying to replace my fear with. I carried my fear around and reminded myself constantly that my fear of not stopping was greater than my fear of stopping.

  1. I did it for myself but I didn’t do it by myself.

For me, having a sober community has been essential. There is a great deal of relief that comes from hearing from someone who has lived your experience. Hearing pieces of your soul, particularly the ones that you had been fairly certain no one else knew about or had experienced themselves, spoken out loud by another human being is incredibly comforting.

Being around other people with a drinking problem also forced me to root out the denial that I had become accustomed to and had relied on for years in order to keep drinking. Hearing other people talk about being broken in the same way I was broken helped me to see all my broken pieces. And then they helped me sweep them up.

  1. I had to confront the denial.

An excellent and exceptionally smart friend of mine and I were talking one day about sobriety, about all my problems with AA, about the steps and how annoyed I was with doing the steps.

“It could really just be two steps,” she said, laughingly. “Step one: admit you have a drinking problem and can’t drink. Step two: If you’re wondering if you can have a drink, see step one.” And that’s it for me. The utility of going through it, however you go through it, is in confronting what you’ve been excusing for so long. It took me a couple of months to really get there. When I did it was like everything clicked into focus. Past behaviour made sense suddenly. Why did I still rack up bar tabs when I was completely broke? Why did I always want the party to keep going, even when everyone was ready for bed? Why did I keep waking up on the weekends anxious and exhausted and then find myself drinking again anyway? Click. A drinking problem. Addiction. Alcoholism. Whatever you want to call it, admitting to it is powerful. It doesn’t excuse you, it just helps you figure out behaviour that once completely confounded you.

  1. Focusing on how shitty my new counsellor was, how incredibly frustrating the obstacles to my recovery were, or how much I hated AA didn’t get me sober.

I strongly think that bad help is worse than no help at all. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad help out there.

When I was in early recovery, I was desperately seeking the way out of my drinking problem. My way out. I was struggling with the program of AA, even though I was getting value from the meetings. I wanted to get better faster. I went to a counsellor who I had been told specialized in addiction, but who actually had no experience with it. She balked when I told her how much I used to drink. I hadn’t even understood why she had asked how much I used to drink. I was three months sober at the time, what did my former volume matter? She spent the rest of the session telling me about an article she had read about porn addiction and writing down resources I told her about that she wasn’t aware of. I walked back to my car enraged. What if I had been really broken down in that moment? Didn’t she understand how delicate this whole thing was? But she didn’t. She so obviously, painfully, didn’t.

It’s so horrible that in order to find the actually helpful things, we have to endure the unhelpful things. The unhelpful things feel like being dunked in a bathtub full of vinegar when you’re all cut up and raw.

I called my friends and complained about how unfair it all was and then I got back on the road and leapt over those obstacles like Mario leaps over a pipe with a piranha plant in it (yes, we are still in the metaphor). I never went back to that counsellor. I continued going to and quitting AA. I read many, many books.

Right now, I’m reading Laura McKowen’s beautiful book called, We are the luckiest: the surprising magic of a sober life. If you think that title is insufferable, you are every bit the cynical addict I was before I too became a cheerful, kombucha chugging yogi. McKowen talks a little bit about her problems with AA, without really getting into them. She bypasses them compassionately and says, thinking about all the problems you have with AA is a bit like trying to rearrange the furniture while your house is on fire.

Sure, the couch might look better over there, but isn’t the fact that the weight bearing beams are about to turn to cinder a more pressing dilemma?

When I asked people how they did it, I think a small part of me wanted to hear their solutions so I could study them and dismiss them. Did they know that only x percent of people got sober through AA? Did they realize why that path or this one just wouldn’t work for me? Did they know that I had actually read x, y, or z, which told me why their way wouldn’t work?

But in the end, what helped was getting help. Take what you need and leave the rest. Your path is there. You just need to leap over all the goombas and not get too down when something pierces your armour or shrinks you down.

The final boss: eventually you’ve gotta take on Bowser

So, we’ve arrived at the warp tunnel. The truth about quitting drinking is this: one day, you just do it, even though it feels impossible and hard; even though it feels totally undesirable and may even just be the last thing on earth you want to do. You quit because you’re sick of facing up these enemies again and again. You just want to face down the final boss – Bowser – and to get on with it.

You stop drinking. Then you bear down. You let the grief and the consequences of that decision wash over you, pummel you, break you down to pieces. Eventually, the beauty finds you. I promise. For me, sobriety is an incredible choice I’ve made for myself, instead of a sad consequence. It was hard fought and at the end of the fight, there was no smug Toadstool telling me to look elsewhere, just a sweet little Princess Peach telling me I won. Metaphor!

By: Robyn Schleihauf
Title: How to Quit Drinking: The Princess Is in Another Castle
Sourced From: www.thefix.com/how-quit-drinking-princess-another-castle
Published Date: Wed, 30 Sep 2020 07:26:10 +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