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Friday, January 12, 2018

Pain in the Nation: Opioids, Alcohol, and Suicide

addiction treatment
The Trust for America's Health and the Well Being Trust released a report recently highlighting some rather dismal projections about mental illness in America. The authors of Pain in the Nation: The Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Crises and the Need for a National Resilience Strategy, have cause to believe that the current trends are likely to get worse. In the next decade, 1.6 million Americans could perish from drugs, alcohol, and suicide. Naturally, one of the primary driving forces of the stark estimate is the American opioid addiction epidemic.

Reports, like Pain in the Nation, are serious cause for concern and its projections should be used to encourage people to seek treatment for any mental illness. When people access substance-use-disorder-recovery-support-services, they can turn their lives around for the better. However, individuals are unable to confront psychiatric health conditions like addiction and depression on their own—psychosocial support is a must. As with any deadly health concern, time is of the essence. The report opens with:

The United States is facing a new set of epidemics — more than 1 million Americans have died in the past decade from drug overdoses, alcohol, and suicides (2006 to 2015). Life expectancy in the country decreased last year for the first time in two decades — and these three public health crises have been major contributing factors to this shift.


National Resilience Strategy

While opioids are the focal point of most addiction-related discussions of late, alcohol is a heavyweight contender when it comes to premature death. The Berkeley Research Group’s analysis indicates the alcohol-related mortality rate spiked in 2015, with 33,200 deaths—a 35-year high, according to U.S. News and World Report. If those numbers aren’t bad enough, the researchers found that in the last decade suicides rose by nearly 30 percent.

We’ve discussed opioids at such length there's probably little need to remind our readers of the staggering death toll; the more salient talking point is what we do about the crisis our nation faces. The authors call for a "National Resilience Strategy;" one that leads to reductions in suicide, drug use and alcohol abuse, the article reports. The means of achieving such a lofty goal is prevention and treatment expansion.

"These numbers are staggering, tragic – and preventable," John Auerbach, president of Trust for America's Health told U.S. News. "There is a serious crisis across the nation and solutions must go way beyond reducing the supply of opioids, other drugs and alcohol."


Addiction Treatment Is The Answer

Individuals in communities across the country must have access to screening so they can receive a proper diagnosis. Once diagnosed, effective treatments using evidence-based psychotherapies can then be implemented. If treatment is followed by psychosocial and recovery support services, people have the opportunity to heal and lead productive lives.

If you are battling alcohol and substance use disorder, now is the time to take actions that will lead to lasting addiction recovery. Whether you meet the criteria for addiction, or a use disorder that is accompanied by another form of mental illness (dual diagnosis), Whiteside Manor can help. Please contact us today to embark on the lifesaving journey of recovery, a quest that begins with addiction treatment.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Your Focus On Recovery in 2018

All of us at Whiteside Manor are hopeful that 2017 was a productive year in recovery for you. We know that at times sticking to the program is hard work, but it’s worth all the effort. We sincerely wish for you to have a productive year in recovery in the 365 days ahead, and if you continue to do what you’ve been doing—there’s no reason why 2018 can’t be a benchmark year.

Before the curtain draws on 2017, please consider taking a moment to recognize all the areas of your life where you’ve made progress. One should never discount how far you’ve come, even small steps forward are better than the alternative. Taking some time to do an accounting of improvements made will help you better direct your focus in the year ahead. Addiction recovery is about progress, knowing what you need to work on ahead of time will assist you moving forward.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve only been in the program for a short time; it's likely that your life has already started to improve. Sure, you have a lot of work ahead of you, but at least you are facing in the right direction. Remember, each day that you abstain from drugs and alcohol is a win; especially when you consider that the disease is always trying to get the best of you.


Talk With Your Recovery Peers, Consider Their Suggestions

We are not always the best judge when it comes to our shortcomings and of where we have made improvements. Even if you are doing the work, you might not be able to see how far you've come and, more importantly how far yet you have to go. It’s important to sit down with your sponsor and listen to their observations; you may glean valuable insights about your recovery.

If your sponsor is unavailable, it’s likely you have a close friend, with more time than you, from whom you can impart wisdom. Addiction recovery is, after all, a cooperative endeavor for personal healing; our peers are instrumental in our recovery, we can’t do this without their help. However, sometimes we hesitate to ask for other people’s thoughts, which is usually the result of one’s pride and ego standing in their way. Sometimes we are just afraid of what we might hear, but you must overcome such fears.

One must rely on their support network if recovery is to continue moving forward. We learn how to improve our program, and then down the road we pass on what we learn to others with less time. The cycle of Recovery is a series of symbiotic relationships; your sponsor helps you, you help another person, which helps you in turn. The formula works, and has done so for nearly hundred years; which means, it will work for you.


Addiction Treatment

If you have decided that 2018 is the year you embrace recovery, Whiteside Manor can assist you in achieving said goal. The beginning of a new year can also be the start of a spiritual journey, out of the darkness of addiction and into the light of recovery. Please contact us today to begin making preparations for a whole new life.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Addiction: The Guitar Versus the World

Many consider Eric Clapton one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Few people can deny his contribution to rock and roll and the Blues. Those of you working in the field of addiction medicine or are working programs of recovery might be aware that Clapton’s career came with a lot of heartaches. You may also know that the former Yardbirds' guitarist also founded an addiction treatment center on the island of Antigua in 1997.

Eric Clapton, like many star musicians, struggled with alcohol and heroin for a long time; but as he said in a 60 Minutes interview back in 1999, his desire to be an excellent father to his son helped him decide to seek addiction recovery.

"When he was born, I was drinking and he was really the chief reason that I went back to treatment because I really did love this boy," recalled Clapton. "I thought, 'I know he's a little baby, but he can see what I'm doing, and I'm tired of this.'"

On March 20, 1991, Clapton’s son fell to his death from the 53rd-floor window of his mother's friend's New York City apartment. Such a tragedy would be any parent's worst nightmare, yet Clapton found a way to carry on with life.


Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars

"I thought that if I stopped drinking and I stopped using drugs… I would not be able to play anymore."

One could argue that tragedy is a prerequisite for becoming a blues musician, with that in mind Clapton is certified. In a new documentary, Clapton’s life is brought into focus, both the good and the bad; the first half of the feature shows the road Clapton took to make it in the music industry, the second part is about how music saved his life.

Clapton gave an interview to Rolling Stone recently, where he talks about the Showtime documentary "Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars." He discusses the difficulty of finding recovery in an industry where, at the time, one could count on little support. It was his manager Roger Forrester who finally confronted the brilliant guitarist for Cream. When Clapton finally decided to seek treatment, it was his manager that he called in 1982.

“He packed me up and sent me off to [the rehab facility] Hazelden. When I got to Hazelden, I had to sign this thing saying who is your significant other,” Clapton told Rolling Stone. “Anyone else would have put a family member—or my wife. I was married. But I put him. Because he was the only one who would stand up to me and call me out.”

Sober now for decades, Eric Clapton found that he didn’t need substances to write music after all. He is currently working on his next studio album. Please take a moment to watch the official trailer:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


Addiction Treatment

Deciding to seek help takes tremendous courage, but it’s a choice that will change your life and allow you to have a future. Please contact Whiteside Manor to begin the journey of recovery.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Supporting Recovery This Thanksgiving

People in recovery have a substantial amount to be grateful for today and every day. When you woke up, you got on your knees and prayed for guidance, rather than plotting how you will get drunk or high today. On this day, you asked yourself how you can be of service to your fellows in recovery, as opposed to asking what others can do for you. In recovery, we are no longer driven by self-will or consumed by self-defeating behaviors; instead, we endeavor each day to be a better version of ourselves.

Everything mentioned above is accomplished by remaining steadfast and committed to a set of principles. Through honoring the traditions of those who came before us, we can be an example to the brave men and women who will follow. We achieve our goals by committing ourselves to something higher, acknowledging that we don’t have all the answers and, at times, what we think is the right next move is not in our best interests, after all. Through working a program of recovery, we begin to see our errors in reasoning and learn how to look at life in a new and different way. In time, people in recovery discover their real potential made possible by their daily commitment to improvement.

Recovery doesn’t happen in a vacuum; each of us relies on one another for guidance and clarity regarding the right action. Isolation is no friend to abstinence, left to our own devices we drink and drug. Together, people in recovery work the problem of self and are benefited significantly by collective insight. In any given room of recovery, one finds hundreds of years of examples of how not to handle a situation. This network allows us to learn from the errors of others, lest we make the same choices. With tomorrow being Thanksgiving, and all, it’s important that those new to the Program utilize the tool that is fellowship. Together, we can make it to Friday without using drugs or alcohol.


Grateful Support

In active-addiction, it’s everyone for themselves; in active recovery, it’s all for one and one for all. If you intend on abstaining from drugs and alcohol this Thanksgiving, then we implore you to plan your day around your recovery. Doing the opposite will likely present problems, potentially leading one on a collision course toward relapse. It’s entirely vital your recovery remains priority number one, turkey and cranberry sauce can wait—your program can’t.

Addiction recovery takes precedence over everything else; which is a fact you’re probably aware of already. However, gentle reminders never hurt in putting things into perspective and refocusing your efforts for recovery. You probably have plans for tomorrow, maybe they involve friends and family. If so, be sure not to stretch yourself thin, in every family, there is a member who taxes one’s serenity to the nth degree. Spending time with family is nice during holidays, but we implore you to go to a meeting before (preparation) and after (decompression) family gatherings. Loved ones can trigger a slew of emotions which can affect your spiritual connection. Taking preparatory measures to protect against such an eventuality and taking time to debrief afterward will protect you from veering off course in the program.

Attending meetings tomorrow will give you an opportunity to discuss what helps you manage holiday stress. What you share with others might help someone who is struggling; your words might bring another back to reality. Once again, we are a fellowship, and all of our successes in life are inextricably connected. Your achievements and guidance empower others and vice versa. All of us should take a moment tomorrow and appreciate the gift that is fellowship and be grateful, remember that when it comes to addiction—we are the lucky ones.


Help Is Close

Even with a plan in place, some people might encounter problems. It’s important to have your phone charged and handy at all times. If you find yourself in a sticky situation, call your sponsor; or get to a meeting, you may want to do both. Whatever you need to do to protect your sobriety, do it; even if that means cutting family time short, your loved ones will understand. All of us at Whiteside Manor wish you a safe and sober Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Opioid Epidemic Affects Native Americans, Too

opioid addiction
The scourge of opioid addiction in America is a crisis that can’t easily be solved. Addressing the situation has proved to be a real challenge for at least three Presidents, especially regarding opioid addiction. Alcohol and substance use disorder have been and will always be a problem in the United States. The best that anyone can hope for is mitigating the number of new cases and treating individuals already plagued by the disease.

On numerous occasions, we have discussed how the epidemic faced today is somewhat different than drug scourges of this nation’s past. Specifically, how drug use was mainly considered an inner-city problem, with suburban and rural cases few-and-fare between. The opioid epidemic, on the other hand, disproportionately affects people living in rural America.

A couple weeks ago we spotlighted a story in The New Yorker about how opioid-use is killing off generations in small-town America. Just as “crack” cocaine was widely viewed as a poor-black American problem, opioids are affecting poor-whites. Further evidence that addiction doesn't discriminate, everyone is eligible regardless of their background or skin color. However, the general focus on opioid use disorder and overdose in America has not covered a couple demographics.


Scope and Scale of the Opioid Epidemic

Over the years we have discussed how Native Americans have been affected by prescription opioids. Reservations across the country have been hit especially hard by opioid use and overdose deaths. Unfortunately, the discussion about opioid addiction in rural America often glances over peoples with a long history of disenfranchisement. Native Americans and native Alaskans are underrepresented in discourse about opioid addiction, The Washington Post reports. Even though of all the minority groups affected by opioid use disorder, data indicates Native Americans have been impacted the most.

“The epidemic is especially centered outside cities and among Native Americans and whites,” writes The Washington Post's Paige Winfield Cunningham. “Deaths rose by 325 percent over the same period when you look only at rural areas, and by more than 500 percent among Native Americans and native Alaskans. Death rates among black Americans have more than doubled, though they have risen at a lower rate than among other races.”

Such startling statistics dictate the need for increased addiction treatment funding on or near reservations. If Native Americans can’t access treatment, the chance of recovery is slim to none. Expanding access to substance use disorder treatment in rural America has proved to be one of the biggest challenges to combating the epidemic.


Native Americans Addiction and Recovery Program

At Whiteside Manor, we have treated Native American men and women for alcohol and drug dependency problems for more than a decade. We understand the unique needs of Native Americans and can help you or a loved one find recovery. Please contact us today.