Dealing with Step 8/9 and making amends

truth is that it is impossible to stay sober and move forward without doing these steps thoroughly and honestly. The guilt alone keeps you stuck in the "old way of thinking" and it is impossible to be honest with yourself when you’re in that zone. You make a list of the people you had harmed. You make the amend and you pay people back what you can. The "program" is based around it. If I want what the others have then I have to do what they do. This is what they do. It is as simple as that. The tough part was explaining to people why I am doing it. I just told them the truth, and I got the respect I never thought I would get. Some people actually decline the money and ended up making amends to me!

truth is that it is impossible to stay sober and move forward without doing these steps thoroughly and honestly. The guilt alone keeps you stuck in the "old way of thinking" and it is impossible to be honest with yourself when you’re in that zone. You make a list of the people you had harmed. You make the amend and you pay people back what you can. The "program" is based around it. If I want what the others have then I have to do what they do. This is what they do. It is as simple as that. The tough part was explaining to people why I am doing it. I just told them the truth, and I got the respect I never thought I would get. Some people actually decline the money and ended up making amends to me!

Take a month and get back your life!

I’ve been in detox twice; once for booze and once for pills, and while both were hard, I’d take the physical pain of detox any day over the emotionally difficult days of therapy and recovery that need to follow to really beat any addiction.

Getting the physical metabolites of a drug out of your system needs to happen before you’re clear headed enough to start real treatment; and as such the first few days of any rehab program are almost always spent under medical supervision, and are not really all that intensive. You tend to be in a bit of a fog from the discomfort and the medications, and are certainly in no real position for any self reflection or soul searching. That’s why I always wonder at the claims made by places offering detox only, or week long rehabs…how can they possibly offer anything of value? I know they can be tempting, and a week’s disruption seems a lot easier to accept than a month or more out of a busy life; but recovery is too important, and the process is too tough to give it anything less than 100%.

An addict entering rehab needs to heal the void that leads them back to abuse, and this doesn’t ever happen during the dark days of rehab. Only after, when the mind is clear, and the spirit is able, does the journey to real recovery begin. Through rehab, I learned why I turn to drinking and drugs, and while you can’t expect to solve all of your problems in a month’s session, gaining awareness into yourself and the things that lead you to abuse is a very powerful thing, and can really help you get back on a different path in life.

Through rehab I learned the tools I needed to minimize the temptations to abuse in my life, and to deal with things without abuse when temptation did arise. Your life is never going to be stress or problem free, and you need a new set of skills to cope with the bumpy road that is life. Rehab won’t work for everyone, and I was surprised to find myself back in a program a few short years after "successfully" graduating from one. But recovery is a process, and it continues for life, and a few bumps in the road are OK as long as we deal with them appropriately, and get back on our feet and back to sobriety.

I don’t think that I’ll need to go back to rehab ever again…but I’ll be back in a heartbeat if I find myself again using and slipping back into addiction. A month is nothing when compared to the years of suffering that further abuse will bring, and taking the time away from the triggers to abuse gives you a chance to start again, and relearn why sobriety is important to you. My family means everything to me, and yet I’ve put them through the trials of addiction more than once. I now know that I am powerless over my addiction, and my disease can only be controlled, and never cured. I learned what I needed to know to live without abuse at rehab, and I’ve never regretted investing the time in my own, and my family’s, future health and happiness. If a month can give you your life back, isn’t it worth it?

I’ve been in detox twice; once for booze and once for pills, and while both were hard, I’d take the physical pain of detox any day over the emotionally difficult days of therapy and recovery that need to follow to really beat any addiction.

Getting the physical metabolites of a drug out of your system needs to happen before you’re clear headed enough to start real treatment; and as such the first few days of any rehab program are almost always spent under medical supervision, and are not really all that intensive. You tend to be in a bit of a fog from the discomfort and the medications, and are certainly in no real position for any self reflection or soul searching. That’s why I always wonder at the claims made by places offering detox only, or week long rehabs…how can they possibly offer anything of value? I know they can be tempting, and a week’s disruption seems a lot easier to accept than a month or more out of a busy life; but recovery is too important, and the process is too tough to give it anything less than 100%.

An addict entering rehab needs to heal the void that leads them back to abuse, and this doesn’t ever happen during the dark days of rehab. Only after, when the mind is clear, and the spirit is able, does the journey to real recovery begin. Through rehab, I learned why I turn to drinking and drugs, and while you can’t expect to solve all of your problems in a month’s session, gaining awareness into yourself and the things that lead you to abuse is a very powerful thing, and can really help you get back on a different path in life.

Through rehab I learned the tools I needed to minimize the temptations to abuse in my life, and to deal with things without abuse when temptation did arise. Your life is never going to be stress or problem free, and you need a new set of skills to cope with the bumpy road that is life. Rehab won’t work for everyone, and I was surprised to find myself back in a program a few short years after "successfully" graduating from one. But recovery is a process, and it continues for life, and a few bumps in the road are OK as long as we deal with them appropriately, and get back on our feet and back to sobriety.

I don’t think that I’ll need to go back to rehab ever again…but I’ll be back in a heartbeat if I find myself again using and slipping back into addiction. A month is nothing when compared to the years of suffering that further abuse will bring, and taking the time away from the triggers to abuse gives you a chance to start again, and relearn why sobriety is important to you. My family means everything to me, and yet I’ve put them through the trials of addiction more than once. I now know that I am powerless over my addiction, and my disease can only be controlled, and never cured. I learned what I needed to know to live without abuse at rehab, and I’ve never regretted investing the time in my own, and my family’s, future health and happiness. If a month can give you your life back, isn’t it worth it?

Long Term Drug Rehab

Long-term treatment is something that not everyone can do. With a family, with work, with life, it is hard to remain in treatment for so long. However, there are significant benefits associated with an extended stay in rehab and whoever can afford to take the time out for recovery should consider it.

I feel that a 28-day program is only long enough to change your way of thinking. It is not long enough to teach you how to interact with society living a drug free life. Long-term drug treatment, or extended care, provides all of the valuable tools needed to be able to interact with life while staying clean and sober. Many facilities allow you to have your car. Many of them allow you to go back to work while sleeping at the facility. Some facilities keep the standard care patients and the aftercare patients separate, some let them interact.

Once in long-term care you can expect to see the group therapy classes a little less. The therapy you get is focused more on how you’re handling life and getting back to work, and how you are staying sober in the process. When in aftercare you can expect to be pushed to get a sponsor in AA and NA. He/She can pick you up and take you to meetings. That is generally allowed in long-term care. All drug treatment facilities have long-term care. Most of the time it is cheaper then the standard care. All facilities have contacts with sober living homes that they can refer you to.

Long-term treatment is something that not everyone can do. With a family, with work, with life, it is hard to remain in treatment for so long. However, there are significant benefits associated with an extended stay in rehab and whoever can afford to take the time out for recovery should consider it.

I feel that a 28-day program is only long enough to change your way of thinking. It is not long enough to teach you how to interact with society living a drug free life. Long-term drug treatment, or extended care, provides all of the valuable tools needed to be able to interact with life while staying clean and sober. Many facilities allow you to have your car. Many of them allow you to go back to work while sleeping at the facility. Some facilities keep the standard care patients and the aftercare patients separate, some let them interact.

Once in long-term care you can expect to see the group therapy classes a little less. The therapy you get is focused more on how you’re handling life and getting back to work, and how you are staying sober in the process. When in aftercare you can expect to be pushed to get a sponsor in AA and NA. He/She can pick you up and take you to meetings. That is generally allowed in long-term care. All drug treatment facilities have long-term care. Most of the time it is cheaper then the standard care. All facilities have contacts with sober living homes that they can refer you to.

Three Cheers For Enforced Pharmaceutical Company Accountability

Oxycontin, which can be crushed and snorted, and is about as addictive as heroin, has caused hundreds of deaths and a lot of heartache, and I’m glad that someone is at long last being held accountable.

I for one was very heartened by yesterday’s successful prosecution of Purdue, the company that markets oxycontin, as well as three senior executives with the company. In addition to paying over 600 million dollars in fines, each executive has been ordered to complete 400 hours of community service, and as well sentenced to three years of probation.

Billions Made on Lies

The judge found that the company, and the three defendants, were guilty for intentionally misleading doctors and pharmacists as to the addictive potential of oxycontin, and for having made billions of dollars off of this deception. It didn’t take long for people to realize that this reportedly less addictive medication, sold as a 12 hour timed release capsule, could be broken and snorted and created a euphoric high similar to heroin.

A lot of kids especially soon found that the easiest high came out of the family medicine cabinet, and because the drug is as addictive as heroin, a lot of lives have been destroyed as a result. The company had announced that that in response to the abuse potential of the medication, that they were planning on releasing a new version of the timed release medication, but that never appeared, after years of promises.

As a recovering opiate addict, I know just how addictive and destructive a pharmaceutical addiction can become, and the makers of these drugs need to at the very least be forthright and honest about the associated risks to the medications they sell. I’m not saying that these are "bad" drugs, although I do think that they are over prescribed, but if doctors are led to believe that they are being given a safer alternative, and their prescriptions lead to the addiction, tragedy and deaths of many, then who is ultimately responsible?

It’s saddening to think that the greed of a few has caused the heartache for so many, and although I’m glad the execs got punished, I wish they had at least received jail time for their deception. I hope that the sentencing resonates through the pharmaceutical industry and that these companies stand up and take notice of what occurred today. It is wrong to mislead the public to sell more drugs, and it is wrong to under inform doctors about the abuse potential of a medication.

I wonder how many lives could have been spared if only they had been honest from the start, and I wonder how these men can sleep at night knowing the destruction they caused for so many.

Oxycontin, which can be crushed and snorted, and is about as addictive as heroin, has caused hundreds of deaths and a lot of heartache, and I’m glad that someone is at long last being held accountable.

I for one was very heartened by yesterday’s successful prosecution of Purdue, the company that markets oxycontin, as well as three senior executives with the company. In addition to paying over 600 million dollars in fines, each executive has been ordered to complete 400 hours of community service, and as well sentenced to three years of probation.

Billions Made on Lies

The judge found that the company, and the three defendants, were guilty for intentionally misleading doctors and pharmacists as to the addictive potential of oxycontin, and for having made billions of dollars off of this deception. It didn’t take long for people to realize that this reportedly less addictive medication, sold as a 12 hour timed release capsule, could be broken and snorted and created a euphoric high similar to heroin.

A lot of kids especially soon found that the easiest high came out of the family medicine cabinet, and because the drug is as addictive as heroin, a lot of lives have been destroyed as a result. The company had announced that that in response to the abuse potential of the medication, that they were planning on releasing a new version of the timed release medication, but that never appeared, after years of promises.

As a recovering opiate addict, I know just how addictive and destructive a pharmaceutical addiction can become, and the makers of these drugs need to at the very least be forthright and honest about the associated risks to the medications they sell. I’m not saying that these are "bad" drugs, although I do think that they are over prescribed, but if doctors are led to believe that they are being given a safer alternative, and their prescriptions lead to the addiction, tragedy and deaths of many, then who is ultimately responsible?

It’s saddening to think that the greed of a few has caused the heartache for so many, and although I’m glad the execs got punished, I wish they had at least received jail time for their deception. I hope that the sentencing resonates through the pharmaceutical industry and that these companies stand up and take notice of what occurred today. It is wrong to mislead the public to sell more drugs, and it is wrong to under inform doctors about the abuse potential of a medication.

I wonder how many lives could have been spared if only they had been honest from the start, and I wonder how these men can sleep at night knowing the destruction they caused for so many.

Is Topiramate (Topamax) A Magic Pill For Alcoholism?

The epilepsy drug topirimate, long given in the initial stages of alcohol detox to reduce convulsions, has been clinically proven effective in reducing the amount alcoholics participating in a study drank.

Previous relapse prevention medications like antabuse, which made the user very sick if they drank alcohol, have never proven very effective, simply because all the alcoholic needs to do is stop taking the pills at any point, and resume drinking without consequence. They don’t offer any help for the cravings or impulses that lead to a desire to drink – but Topiramate seems different.

Topiramate works through a modification of dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain. When talking Topiramate, drinking causes less dopamine to be released, and as a result, the act of drinking is not as pleasurable as it was when not taking the medication. This reduction of pleasure seems to be effective both in helping alcoholics drink less, and drink less often.

A recent double blind and placebo study, gave half of the candidates Topiramate, and the other half a placebo, although neither group was aware of what medication they were taking. All study participants were alcoholics and heavy drinkers, and the researchers wanted to see what effect long term usage of Topiramate would have on amount and frequency of alcohol consumption. The study participants began with a low dosage, and the dosage of the medication was gradually tapered up to a daily dose of 300 mg.

The results were astonishing, and researchers reported that the group taking Topiramate drank far less and far less often over time than the group receiving a placebo, and the difference between the groups increased as the dosage of the drug increased. Alcoholics taking Topiramate drank fewer drinks in a sitting (down by almost 3 drinks on average) and also had more days of light drinking and even more days of alcohol abstinence.

More research and study needs to be done on the drug, and some would argue that since the drug doesn’t seem to cause the complete cessation of drinking that it is not a beneficial treatment for alcohol addiction, but I would argue that anything that reduces the quantity and frequency of consumption, reduces the harm created during abuse, and also increases the probability of being able to successfully stop drinking.

Researchers say that the best way to use the medication is in conjunction with other therapies, and that if used in isolation, it is unlikely to have a significant long term benefit. It’s very encouraging in any case, that for the first time ever, there seems to be a drug available that helps drinking alcoholics minimize their consumption, reduce the harm they cause, and improve their ability to benefit from other treatments.

The epilepsy drug topirimate, long given in the initial stages of alcohol detox to reduce convulsions, has been clinically proven effective in reducing the amount alcoholics participating in a study drank.

Previous relapse prevention medications like antabuse, which made the user very sick if they drank alcohol, have never proven very effective, simply because all the alcoholic needs to do is stop taking the pills at any point, and resume drinking without consequence. They don’t offer any help for the cravings or impulses that lead to a desire to drink – but Topiramate seems different.

Topiramate works through a modification of dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain. When talking Topiramate, drinking causes less dopamine to be released, and as a result, the act of drinking is not as pleasurable as it was when not taking the medication. This reduction of pleasure seems to be effective both in helping alcoholics drink less, and drink less often.

A recent double blind and placebo study, gave half of the candidates Topiramate, and the other half a placebo, although neither group was aware of what medication they were taking. All study participants were alcoholics and heavy drinkers, and the researchers wanted to see what effect long term usage of Topiramate would have on amount and frequency of alcohol consumption. The study participants began with a low dosage, and the dosage of the medication was gradually tapered up to a daily dose of 300 mg.

The results were astonishing, and researchers reported that the group taking Topiramate drank far less and far less often over time than the group receiving a placebo, and the difference between the groups increased as the dosage of the drug increased. Alcoholics taking Topiramate drank fewer drinks in a sitting (down by almost 3 drinks on average) and also had more days of light drinking and even more days of alcohol abstinence.

More research and study needs to be done on the drug, and some would argue that since the drug doesn’t seem to cause the complete cessation of drinking that it is not a beneficial treatment for alcohol addiction, but I would argue that anything that reduces the quantity and frequency of consumption, reduces the harm created during abuse, and also increases the probability of being able to successfully stop drinking.

Researchers say that the best way to use the medication is in conjunction with other therapies, and that if used in isolation, it is unlikely to have a significant long term benefit. It’s very encouraging in any case, that for the first time ever, there seems to be a drug available that helps drinking alcoholics minimize their consumption, reduce the harm they cause, and improve their ability to benefit from other treatments.

Other fellowships for those in AA/NA as well

When I took all the drugs and alcohol away I was left with something hard to deal with, ME. I had two choices. Do it my way or do it the way that it was suggested from people in recovery. They made it real simple.

Turn everything over to a higher power and go to as many meetings as possible and don’t drunk/use. Perhaps I just wanted to see what I could do with my own thinking. I was done with substance abuse. In very little time I ended up in a relationship with another sick mind. That got me know where. That got me back on my knees.

Sure enough, I found something else that would take me away from me – the Casino. That was the same thing as Cocaine. Well one day it stopped working. Then I decided that working full time, 17 hours a day, would fix me. Still, the pain, the confusion, the life problems persisted. After two years of trying it my way, I admitted defeat. I put my life into the hands of my trusted friends in the program, and my higher power. Life has been great ever since. My daily goal is to keep my life out of my hands, and rolling in the right direction.

My story seems to be a common one. I do not know many people who have just stepped into the program and are convinced enough to not have to go try it on their own. When I tell my story people do not seem all that surprised. At the very least, the newcomer can see that this is common, and they will know what the outcome will be ahead of time. Perhaps this will help shorten the timeframe of "self will run wild!"

When I took all the drugs and alcohol away I was left with something hard to deal with, ME. I had two choices. Do it my way or do it the way that it was suggested from people in recovery. They made it real simple.

Turn everything over to a higher power and go to as many meetings as possible and don’t drunk/use. Perhaps I just wanted to see what I could do with my own thinking. I was done with substance abuse. In very little time I ended up in a relationship with another sick mind. That got me know where. That got me back on my knees.

Sure enough, I found something else that would take me away from me – the Casino. That was the same thing as Cocaine. Well one day it stopped working. Then I decided that working full time, 17 hours a day, would fix me. Still, the pain, the confusion, the life problems persisted. After two years of trying it my way, I admitted defeat. I put my life into the hands of my trusted friends in the program, and my higher power. Life has been great ever since. My daily goal is to keep my life out of my hands, and rolling in the right direction.

My story seems to be a common one. I do not know many people who have just stepped into the program and are convinced enough to not have to go try it on their own. When I tell my story people do not seem all that surprised. At the very least, the newcomer can see that this is common, and they will know what the outcome will be ahead of time. Perhaps this will help shorten the timeframe of "self will run wild!"

Relationships in early recovery

Recovering Alcoholics have set personal patterns that are based around short-term solutions. How would someone ever do something that results in long-term gain when they have to avoid short-term gratification they have been chasing their whole lives?

Not by giving up…

I can think of dozens of people I have met in treatment centers over the years who DATE while in a 28 day program. Most programs try to break it up as fast as possible. This is poison for the new recovering addict/alcoholic. I would not consider this a relapse trigger, I would consider this a step that is involved in relapse, the start of the relapse. This is one of several reasons who relationships are so dangerous for the new ones.

  • What kind of person is a sick person going to attract?
  • Isn’t the whole purpose of getting sober to change?
  • How do you change when you spend all your time focusing on someone who mirrors yourself?

It is suggested in recovery that people who are new wait a full year OR until they have completed the 12 steps, before getting into a relationship.

Recovering Alcoholics have set personal patterns that are based around short-term solutions. How would someone ever do something that results in long-term gain when they have to avoid short-term gratification they have been chasing their whole lives?

Not by giving up…

I can think of dozens of people I have met in treatment centers over the years who DATE while in a 28 day program. Most programs try to break it up as fast as possible. This is poison for the new recovering addict/alcoholic. I would not consider this a relapse trigger, I would consider this a step that is involved in relapse, the start of the relapse. This is one of several reasons who relationships are so dangerous for the new ones.

  • What kind of person is a sick person going to attract?
  • Isn’t the whole purpose of getting sober to change?
  • How do you change when you spend all your time focusing on someone who mirrors yourself?

It is suggested in recovery that people who are new wait a full year OR until they have completed the 12 steps, before getting into a relationship.