Graphic Images and Smoking

smokingSmoking rates have dropped dramatically over the last several decades. Every adult knows that cigarettes carry inherent risks to one’s health. It seems like with each year that passes, researchers add to the list of conditions and cancers linked to tobacco use. While health officials and lawmakers have made it more difficult for tobacco companies to market and sell their products, millions of Americans continue to smoke despite these risks.

In recent years there has been a lot of talk about placing graphic images on cigarette packaging, pictures that show smokers what can happen. Public health experts believe that it would be a deterrent that may stop people from picking up the habit and may influence current smokers to quit. Naturally, tobacco lobbyist have put up stiff resistance to the implementation of such warnings, which is why we still have only the Surgeon General’s warning. Interestingly, new research suggests that graphic warnings may not have the desired result and may produce a boomerang effect, Science Daily reports. The findings were published online by the journal Communication Research.

A Threat to Freedom

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois found that graphic images may be viewed by smokers as a threat to their freedom, choice or autonomy. When some people are told what to do, or have the feeling that they are being told what to, they will often do the opposite.

“What we found is that most people don’t like these warning labels, whether they are smokers or nonsmokers,” said Nicole LaVoie, a doctoral student in communication and the lead author of the study. “It makes them angry, it makes them express negative thoughts about the packaging, that they’re being manipulated,” LaVoie said. “Ultimately, it also makes them think that the source — the government in this case, mandating these labels — is being overly domineering, is being too much in their business.”

Smoking in Recovery

If you are working a program of recovery and also smoke cigarettes, you may want to seriously consider breaking the habit. Cigarettes are extremely difficult to quit and are also bad for you, but new research suggest that people in recovery who smoke are at much greater risk of relapse. In recent years, a significant number of people working a program have turned to e-cigarettes as healthier alternative; however, some e-juices that smokers vaporize actually contain a small amount of alcohol which could potentially trigger a relapse.

Staying Sober On New Year’s Eve

New Year's EveTomorrow is New Year’s Eve, which for most people means bringing in 2016 with a bang. Typically, when the sun sets people put on festive clothing and venture out to parties where people will be drinking alcohol to excess. For those who are working a program of recovery, and are planning on attending such gatherings, it is vital that you remain focused – reminding yourself that you cannot drink or use no matter what. Whenever one is in the presence of people who appear to be having fun while drinking, it can become easy for those in recovery to romance alcohol – feelings may arise that can be difficult to resist.

Forgetting How Bad It Was

People in recovery who plan to spend time around people drinking alcohol tomorrow night need to remind themselves of the dark places that alcohol brought them. Addicts and alcoholics excel at remembering the joy that drugs and alcohol made them feel, and easily forget that drugs and alcohol brought them to their knees.

If you are finding yourself having cravings for alcohol, it is vital that you play back a tape of your addictive past. Failing to do so may result in thinking that you can drink like everyone else, and not experience any consequences. While it may be possible that you can drink tomorrow night without problems arising immediately, it will start you down a path that can be hard to reverse. You know all too well the hard work that was required to get you to the point you are at, having just one drink will through it all out the window.

There Are Better Alternatives On New Year’s Eve

If you actively attend 12-Step meetings, then you are likely aware that recovery events will be going on throughout New Year’s Eve, and round-the-clock meetings as well. Whether you are new to recovery or have accumulated a significant amount of time, the best thing you can do tomorrow is stay close to your recovery peers. Filling your day with 12-Step meetings, followed by a recovery event at night will help you make it through the day sober and will be a lot of fun.

It is likely that your recovery friends will have the same plan for tomorrow. It is also fair to say that being around people who are intoxicated is not much fun for those in recovery and is hardly worth the risk. At N2 treatment, we would like to wish everyone a safe and sober start to 2016.

Christmas, and the Shield of Gratitude

addiction, gratitudeWith Christmas around the corner, it is crucial that those who are actively working a program of recovery remain grounded and calm during the big day. While the holidays are cause for celebration, recovering addicts and alcoholics need to celebrate in a different way and it may require that one celebrate different things. Celebrating one’s recovery often means living in a place of gratitude, and sobriety is definitely something for which to be grateful. On Christmas, it is important that those in recovery for addiction remember where they came from and how far they have come – even if they have only been clean and sober for a short period of time.

The Shield of Gratitude

Most people who are in recovery were once in a very bad way, when they get sober it opens up all kinds of possibilities that are only possible because of their recovery. Remembering the people and things that you are grateful for can be your greatest protection, if you are finding yourself feeling blue on Christmas Day.

The holidays can be trying, and it can be difficult to attend events where alcohol is in abundance without encountering strong feelings, which, left unchecked can lead people in recovery to think it is OK to have a drink. It is at times like those that you remind yourself where that drink will take you, playback the tape of your past, and be grateful that you don’t have to go there ever again. Recovering addicts and alcoholics have so much for which to be grateful, failing to acknowledge the miracle of one’s recovery can be dangerous.

Christmas Meetings

Just as on Thanksgiving, meetings will be held all day long on Christmas. It is always wise to attend a meeting, or more, after you finish with family obligations. Being around one’s family can be stressful; therefore, it is crucial that you join your recovery peers so you can discuss how you are feeling. Surrounding yourself with like minded people, working towards the same goal is sure way to decompress from the pressure of a family gathering.

If you are estranged from your family it can be painful, but it does not mean that you have to pick up to manage those feelings. Drinking or using will not bring your family back into your life any sooner, it will surely prolong such an eventuality. Instead, put your faith in the power of the program, and channel your energy into those who are actively part of your life. You may find yourself as a source of strength to the newcomer who is struggling more than you.

The Hand of Recovery

We at N2 Treatment would like to wish everyone in Recovery a Merry Christmas, free from alcohol and drugs. Please remember that the hand of recovery is always there, never hesitate to reach out for help if you find yourself in need.

Working A Recovery Program While Traveling

recoveryThis time of year, for some, often involves a lot of traveling due to the national holidays. Whether you are visiting friends and family, or just looking for a respite from the cold, traveling can be stressful. Bad weather can result in unexpected delays or layovers, which can last for uncomfortable lengths of time. For most people, such occurrences are merely an inconvenience resulting in a headache; but for those in recovery from chemical dependency, traveling can be dangerous environment. People in recovery need to do everything in their power to remain strong, lest their program becomes disrupted. Sadly, many people in recovery have relapsed while on the road, but do not be discouraged, relapse does not have to be a part of your travel story.

There Are Meetings Everywhere

No matter where you are in the United States, and in many countries overseas, you can easily find 12-step recovery meetings. You can look online to find a list of local meetings to attend. If you are staying in a hotel, the concierge may be able to provide you a directory of the meetings in the area.

While 12-step meetings are relatively uniform with regard to the principles and traditions of a recovery program, how meeting houses go about things is always a little different from state to state and from city to city. You may find a new experience by attending meetings in an area foreign to you. On top of that, you will have an opportunity to meet different people who share the common bond of recovery with you. Do not shy away from attending meetings while you are traveling, especially if you find yourself struggling – sometimes your program requires you to do more than call your sponsor.

Plan, Plan, Plan…

It is important to plan your trip out ahead of time, especially if you are vacationing in early recovery. There are a number of getaway destinations that revolve around alcohol, such as Las Vegas or New Orleans. Places where you are likely to have a lot of exposure to alcohol may not be the safest place to visit.

If visiting risky places cannot be avoided, have a plan that revolves around your recovery is paramount. It is advised that you know ahead of time which meetings you plan to attend, so that upon your arrival you have safe place you can turn. It is also wise to have set time scheduled for you and your sponsor to have a conversation over the phone, it is important to be accountable to someone else while traveling in recovery.

The Hand of Recovery

Always remember that you are not alone, your support network and sponsor are always just a phone call away. If you find yourself in a situation that you feel may compromise your recovery, do not hesitate to pick up the phone. It is always easier to call your sponsor before a relapse, than it is after the fact.

Your Recovery During Thanksgiving

recoveryOn the eve of Thanksgiving, it is important that those who are working a program of recovery have a plan for the holiday. Creating a schedule will eliminate the potential of finding oneself in a dangerous situation, something that could compromise your recovery. We have a routine that we stick to every other day of the year, holidays are no different. If possible, stick to your daily recovery routine, i.e.: prayer/meditation, exercise, and meetings. You may find that you need all of these things to help you navigate the obstacles that often arise for people in recovery over the holidays.

Prayer/Meditation

Many working programs of recovery pray and/or meditate every day, sometimes more than once per day. It is an opportunity to clear one’s mind, a grounding technique that helps you stay centered throughout the day. Such practices provide people an opportunity to reflect on that which they are grateful for – family, friends, and their recovery.

The holidays can be tough for those in recovery, especially if your family is no longer present in your life. Take comfort in your peers, those in your support network that you can draw strength from when painful feelings pop up. Recovery is a communal experience, one that requires that we lean on each other for support from time to time. Who knows, your peers may need to rely upon you on Thanksgiving.

Exercise

Thanksgiving is a holiday notorious for having too much food at the table. While holidays symbolize a time for people to take a day off from the everyday and overindulge, again for those in recovery it is critical that you stick to your daily routine.

Letting up on your exercise during a holiday is not necessarily frowned upon, but one should remain cognizant of how they are feeling. If you have an daily exercise routine and you choose to pass on it for the day, you may find yourself feeling a little off, do not let those feelings run away with themselves. Acknowledge that your routine has been disrupted and do your best to pull yourself out of the funk. If you need to call your sponsor or a friend in recovery, pick up the phone.

Meetings

Fortunately, major holidays are time when there are no shortage of meetings being held throughout the day. In many areas, Alcathons and Narcathons are being held, meetings are held at the top of every hour of the day. Do your best to attend your home group, but if you find yourself in need of another meeting – go to another meeting. Nobody ever relapsed by going to too many meetings during a holiday.

Our Hope

At N2 Treatment, we would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. If you are actively working a program of recovery, we hope that you will have a safe and sober holiday.

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Please contact N2 Treatment if you are struggling with addiction. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Celebrates 80th Anniversary

AANow in its 80th year, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has come a long way since the programs humble beginnings in Akron, Ohio in 1935. Through the AA community, millions of people have found a new way of life through recovery – a life free from alcohol and drugs.

Active members of AA and those who have yet to experience recovery, can find support at any one of the 115,326 groups in 180 countries around the globe. It is hard to believe that it all began with just two men with a desire to stay sober. Today, there are millions of people actively working a program of recovery in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, striving to practice the principles of the program in all their affairs.

Come Together

While the Middle East is not known for heavy alcohol consumption, it may please you to learn that people are experiencing the miracle of recovery in the rooms of AA there as well. In Fact, 100 AA delegates from 15 Asian nations met in Dubai last week for the Alcoholics Anonymous’ regional biannual meeting, Gulf News reports. The purpose of the gathering was to discuss public communications strategies for the next two years.

“The purpose of the regional meetings is to see how we can, at a country-to-country level, carry the message,” said John L_, Asia Oceania AA regional chairman. He adds that one reason AA has been so successful is “one alcoholic carries the message to another alcoholic.”

Spreading The Message

Active members of AA often say ‘you cannot keep it [recovery], if you do not give it away.’ Spreading a message of hope to people who are facing seemingly insurmountable odds is what keeps the program moving forward. People struggling with addiction are guided by people in recovery who have come before them, and in turn they too will hopefully pay what they have learned forward.

One thing is certain, recovery is a shared experience.

We would like to thank everyone who has made an effort to work a program of recovery and spread the message that “we can, and do recover.”

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Please contact N2 Treatment if you are struggling with alcohol. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

Smoking May Be Bad for Your Recovery

recoveryLiving a life of recovery is not easy, but it is certainly worth it. After living in addiction for many years, learning to navigate the waters of life, coping with the daily trials and tribulations free from drugs and alcohol takes vigilance. It is often said that one’s addiction is right outside the door doing pushups, waiting for you to be off guard.

Whatever one can do to minimize the chance of relapse is crucial. Active members in recovery will avoid dangerous situations like the plague, keeping away from old friends and out of places that can jeopardize one’s sobriety.

Smokey Speed Bumps On The Road To Recovery

New research suggests that people in recovery who smoke cigarettes are at a greater risk of relapse, HealthDay reports. The study found that people in recovery who smoke are twice as likely to start drinking again with three years, compared to nonsmokers.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health used data from 35,000 adults with a past alcohol use disorder. The findings held even after accounting for:

  • Mood
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Illicit Drug Use
  • Nicotine Dependence

Something to Consider

“Quitting smoking will improve anyone’s health. But our study shows that giving up cigarettes is even more important for adults in recovery from alcohol since it will help them stay sober,” said lead author Renee Goodwin. Goodwin is an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

The findings were published in Alcoholism: Experimental and Clinical Research.

If you or a loved one is entering treatment for a substance use disorder, it is important to discuss smoking cessation options. Smoking is harmful to one’s health, and for those in recovery – quitting may increase the chances of success after treatment.
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Please contact N2 Treatment if you are struggling with addiction. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

Navigating Social Situations Involving Alcohol

alcoholRecovering from a substance use disorder is challenging to say the least, around many corners are obstacles that can derail one’s program. In early recovery, sponsors in 12-step programs and counselors at treatment centers advise you to stay clear from situations where alcohol will be present – known as risky situations. Being around others who are consuming alcohol can be dangerous.

Unfortunately, alcohol is everywhere and avoiding situations where alcohol is present is often easier said than done. Holidays and work gatherings are common situations that people in recovery need to face, but it is possible to abstain from alcohol and have a good time. It is important for people working a program of recovery to stay close to their support network, if ever you feel shaky help is always a phone call away.

The Life of A Former Drinker

Alcoholics who give up drinking will find times in their recovery where they will have to navigate social situations where alcohol is involved. Some people will let their associates know they don’t drink, whereas others will try to remain inconspicuous about the fact that they abstain from alcohol. A new study has examined the wide variety of approaches that people who don’t drink take when it comes to how and whether to tell people that they don’t drink, ScienceDaily reports. The research was part of a larger study on how non-drinkers handle social events.

“The findings tell us that former problem drinkers can find it tricky to navigate social situations where alcohol is involved, and makes clear it’s important to support those who aren’t drinking and not push non-drinkers to disclose their reasons for not having a drink,” says Lynsey Romo, study lead and an assistant professor of communication at North Carolina State University.

The study involved 11 former problem drinkers who were interviewed by the researchers. The participants length of sobriety ranged from one to 19 years, according to the article. Some people were open about the fact they didn’t drink, while others tried to avoid the situation outright by holding a cup the whole time or saying “no” when offered a drink.

Staying Social In Sobriety Without Stigma

“We found that former problem drinkers still want to be social, of course, but that they had to find ways to determine whether to disclose their non-drinking status to others,” Romo says. “Study participants said they felt the need to weigh how much they should tell other people. Essentially, they assessed the risk of being socially stigmatized if they were open about not drinking or about being in recovery.”

The research was published in the journal Health Communication.

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If you are or your loved one is struggling with alcohol, please contact N2 Treatment. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

Needle Exchange Programs Reduce Disease Transmission

needle-exchangeThere are a number of lawmakers who have mixed feeling about needle exchange programs, places where IV drug users can exchange used syringes for clean ones. Many taxpayers are not comfortable with fronting the bill for addicts to continue their drug use, despite the fact that needle exchange programs have proven to reduce the spread of infectious disease. On top of that, needle exchanges give counselors a perfect opportunity to discuss recovery with active users, potentially channeling them into treatment.

Exchanges Reduce Transmission

New research suggests that after Washington D.C. lifted the ban on funding needle exchange programs it prevented 120 new cases of HIV in just two years, USA Today reports. The ban was lifted in 2007, giving the District’s health department the power to provide free:

  • Clean Needles
  • Condoms
  • HIV Tests
  • Referrals to Addiction Treatment

“Policy change makes a difference,” says lead author Monica Ruiz of George Washington University.

The Research

If the DC ban had not happened, Ruiz calculated 296 HIV infections would have occurred, according to the article. In the two years after lifting the ban, there were 176 new cases of HIV, which means that lifting the ban prevented 120 cases. Ruiz and her colleagues calculated the average lifetime cost of treating the 120 people had they been infected, about $44 million.

“Our study adds to the evidence that needle exchange programs not only work but are cost-effective investments in the battle against HIV,” says Ruiz, an assistant research professor of community health at George Washington’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.

The findings were published in AIDS and Behavior.

DC is Not Alone

A number of states have seen an alarming rise in the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C, forcing government officials to change their stance on the value of having clean needle programs. The Governor of Indiana declared a state of emergency regarding HIV transmission linked to the prescription drug Opana ®. Governor Mike Pence allowed for needle exchanges in the most troubled areas of the state. Indiana’s state health commissioner, Jerome Adams, said that needle exchanges “have been shown scientifically to slow the spread of infectious disease across time and across the country.”

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If you are or your loved one is struggling with opioids, please contact N2 Treatment. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

What is National Recovery Month?

recoveryDespite the continued fight against prescription opioid and heroin abuse in the United States which continues to take people’s lives every day, it has arguably been a good year so far for substance use disorder prevention and addiction recovery. In 2015, the President has already pardoned a number of people for lengthy drug related prison sentences, including some who were serving life sentences. Steps have been made to provide greater access to clean needles and the life saving drug naloxone, which reverses the effects of opioid overdoses.

All of the aforementioned measures reinforce the prevailing idea that addiction is a disease that requires treatment, not imprisonment. It shows that more people are beginning to understand that people can recover and lives can be saved if we, as a nation, are willing to dismantle the stigmas and misconceptions that have long accompanied addiction.

What is National Recovery Month?

Every year, the month of September is National Recovery Month. Throughout the month, addiction and mental health recovery events are held with the help of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). This is a time when people working a program of recovery and the vast number of people who work in the field of recovery receive recognition for their achievements.

September is an opportunity to reach out to and educate those still in the grips of addiction, letting them know that recovery is possible and addiction is nothing to be ashamed of. Events will be taking place all over the country and everyone who would like to learn more about recovery is welcome.

The President is for Recovery

President Obama made a Proclamation that September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. This year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!”. Please read the full Proclamation below:

NATIONAL ALCOHOL AND DRUG ADDICTION RECOVERY MONTH,
2015

– – – – – – –

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Every day, resilient Americans with substance use disorders summon extraordinary courage and strength and commit to living healthy and productive lives through recovery. From big cities to small towns to Indian Country, substance use disorders affect the lives of millions of Americans. This month, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to all those who are seeking or in need of treatment, and we recognize the key role families, friends, and health care providers play in supporting those on the path to a better tomorrow.

This year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!” It encourages us all to do our part to eliminate negative public attitudes associated with substance use disorders and treatment. People in recovery are part of our communities — they are our family and friends, colleagues and neighbors — and by supporting them and raising awareness of the challenges they face, we can help eradicate prejudice and discrimination associated with substance use disorders, as well as with co-occurring mental disorders. Prevention and treatment work, and people recover — and we must ensure all those seeking help feel empowered, encouraged, and confident in their ability to take control of their future. Americans looking for help for themselves or their loved ones can call 1-800-662-HELP or use the “Treatment Locator” tool at www.SAMHSA.gov.

My Administration remains dedicated to pursuing evidence-based strategies to address substance use disorders as part of our National Drug Control Strategy. Seeking to widen pathways to recovery, our strategy supports the integration of substance use treatment into primary health care settings and the expansion of support services in places such as high schools, institutions of higher education, and throughout the criminal justice system. In the wake of public health crises related to non-medical use of prescription drugs and heroin in communities across our Nation, my Administration has pledged considerable resources to help Federal, State, and local authorities boost prevention efforts, improve public health and safety, and increase access to treatment in communities across the country. And the Affordable Care Act has extended substance use disorder and mental health benefits and Federal parity protections to millions of Americans.

Behavioral health is essential to overall health, and recovery is a process through which individuals are able to improve their wellness, live increasingly self-directed lives, and strive to fulfill their greatest potential. During National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, we reaffirm our belief that recovery and limitless opportunity are within reach of every single American battling substance use disorders, and we continue our work to achieve this reality.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2015 as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

BARACK OBAMA

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If you or a loved one is struggling with drugs or alcohol, please contact N2 Treatment. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

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