How 12 Step Programs Will Ruin Your High

Posted on August 6, 2014 By

How 12 Step Programs Will Ruin Your High

My relapse was ruined by my initial recovery! For anyone who has ever relapsed, or maybe even spent enough time in 12 Step fellowship meetings to hear some solution, you know well how much it sucks to be drinking or getting high and have the 12 Steps and principles of the program running laps in your brain and tugging on your heart strings while you try and catch a buzz.

During my relapse my high was never the same after spending some time in recovery, and I had to face the facts every time that I drank or used drugs that I had given up so much for something so toxic to my life. Here is a few ways I can attest to how 12 Step programs will ruin your high.

Making the Same Mistakes

In my personal experience, when I relapsed back into using drugs and drinking I immediately realized I was making the same mistakes I had made before first going to treatment and getting into a 12 Step program.  I started to notice the behavior that I knew would coexist with active addiction and it made me feel guilty each time I got high. Things like:

  • Stealing from friends and family
  • Lying to people
  • Missing work
  • Manipulating relationships
  • Drunk driving
  • Not paying my bills

This is just a short list of things that started to pop up in my daily life. Being in a 12 Step program, especially when you have worked 12 Steps, will ruin your high when you start to see yourself gradually burning bridges you worked to mend, or recreating the character defects you have come to understand as things that keep you from being the best human being you can be. When you are drinking and immediately notice the wrongs you’re doing, and now you know a way to make the amends or practice your principles but you ignore them,  it can ruin a high pretty quick.

Knowing Where You’re Going

One of the worst parts of relapsing after working a program of recovery and being part of a 12 Step program is when you KNOW deep down where it is all going to end up. If you truly are an addict or alcoholic and you have hit a bottom before, than it is safe to say you can easily hit another one, and it only gets worse. You might even remember some of the experiences that were shared with you about relapse, or just things in other people’s stories you heard that you said you would never do. Suddenly you find yourself in that position.

You may be drinking and drugging and think to yourself, ‘I know I’m going to wake up dope-sick and/or hung-over tomorrow and hate my life’ and you also know if you keep that up it will continue to hurt more and you will get sicker than ever. Next thing you know, you’re doing the things you said you would never do that you heard in a 12 Step meeting, and you cannot believe how bad it has gotten so quickly.

Missing the Fellowship

The fellowship of a 12 Step program is an incredible community of kindred spirits trying to pull them-selves up from life’s ground-zero and get back on track to contributing to the world. These people are the most compassionate and creative individuals I have personally ever met, and most of my greatest friendships were formed in the rooms of a 12 Step meeting. However when I started using and drinking and I walked away from the program, I also walked away from the fellowship.

Depression does not even begin to describe the feeling I had when I was sitting somewhere using or drinking and someone sober called me to see how I was doing. The friends I made there still cared about me when I left, and they took every opportunity to make sure I was alive and OK, but inside I was getting sicker and more desperate.

Working a program, having a sponsor, and growing and recovering with others makes the bond between addicts and alcoholics strong, fiercely powerful and more meaningful because we share a common problem, and we fight for our lives and our sanity together. We help each other learn, and we enlighten each other with our experiences and our shared spiritual process. When I started drinking and using and I could feel I had cut myself off from that. Missing out on the fellowship made me feel like I had abandoned one of the best connections I had, and no matter how much I drank or used drugs I only missed those people more and more.

Losing Spirituality

This was the first and deepest wound I suffered from my relapse. My spiritual connection to the divine energy and love that I will refer to as God was gone when I decided I was going to leave the 12 Step Program to drink and use drugs again. I stopped praying and meditating, I stopped keeping a conscious contact between my spiritual fitness and my behaviors and relationships, and I lost hope. The absence of the connection to God was profound and crushing.

In a 12 Step program I developed a relationship with God, and with my own inner self, and I was able to cultivate that relationship through 12 Steps, practicing my spiritual principles, helping others and not numbing myself to the world with drugs and alcohol. When I drank again, I felt as if everything I had worked for was ignored or under-rated. I no longer appreciated the blessings I had, and I began to abuse and neglect the things that I was being blessed with on a regular basis. Drinking and drugging made it easy to ignore my principles, to lose my friendships, and to make all those mistakes all over again.

Being spiritually bankrupt to the core is a serious buzz kill for me. When I tried to get high and all I could think about was how I had failed myself, my family, and my God I was ashamed of being high. I couldn’t sit back and let myself be numb, because now I was guilty and miserable. I would drink and use more to try and block that out too, but all I did was think more about how God wanted me to be happy and I was poisoning myself and running from my responsibility to my sobriety.

They say staying clean and sober is easier than getting clean and sober, I can agree that it is definitely tougher out there using and drinking the second time. But no matter how many times we have gone in and out of treatment or recovery in general, if we are using drugs or drinking we enjoy ourselves less and less after a relapse. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588 

Is Your SOBER Life Unmanageable?

Posted on August 5, 2014 By

Is Your SOBER Life Unmanageable?

You’re clean. You’re sober. But, things just don’t seem to be getting that much better. As they say, you could be ‘staying clean but living dirty.’ So, we ask: Is your SOBER life unmanageable? It might be as simple as your room or house being disorganized, such as laundry piling up, dirty dishes sitting in the sink for days and weeks on end. Maybe you’re in school and you’re constantly procrastinating on doing your homework. Here are other ways to know if your sober life is unmanageable.

Can’t hold a job

You’re struggling in the job/career department of your life. Maybe you’re unhappy with your job and you let it affect your work performance. The thing is, a lot of people start out working at what aren’t necessarily their dream jobs but, you have to start somewhere. Constantly bouncing from job to job, or not being able to hold down a job is an obvious sign that your life is unmanageable, even if you are clean and sober.

Not paying bills on time

If you’re shirking your adult responsibilities, such as paying your rent and other bills on time, you are definitely headed for chaos. In recovery, we get to be responsible members of society which means growing up and acting like adults. Paying bills is one of the privileges we earn in sobriety. So stop complaining and pay your bills.

Losing apt/housing

And, if you’re not paying your rent, you will likely lose your apartment or other housing situation. Couch surfing and living out of your car are part of your previous life, when your life was unmanageable from drinking and drugging. As it’s said, you don’t have to live like that anymore. So don’t.

Not taking care of health and hygiene

If you’re still living off of Fruity Pebbles cereal and cigarettes, then my friend, you need to take a good look at your nutrition or lack thereof. Also, having poor sleep hygiene, such as staying up all night and chronically oversleeping can seriously take its toll on your health, both physical and mental.

Being in a codependent relationship

Many people in recovery from addiction are also dealing with codependency issues. If you’re clean and sober yet you’re in codependent relationships with a significant other, friends, and family members, then it’s time to start doing some recovery work around those issues, too. There are support groups such as CoDA meetings for people who struggle with codependency and self-esteem issues.

Neglecting Friendships

Is your codependent relationship with a significant other leading you to ignore your friends? Or maybe you are acting out on your character defects and becoming more and more self-centered and self-serving. This will certainly show up when your friendships start to unravel.

Arguments with family

Another sign that your sober life is unmanageable is that you are fighting with your family or giving one another the silent treatment. Remember, one of the aspects of a recovery program is that you get to mend relationships so, if instead your relationships are getting worse, it’s time to look at what’s going on with you.

Acting out

Addiction has more to do with finding external sources for our happiness than just abusing substances. That said, if you’re acting out in other ways, such as spending money on shopping sprees, tattoos, and other frivolous things, or else spending hours online either on social media such as Facebook or gaming etc. you just might be trying to avoid your discontent. Other ways people act out include constantly working out, gambling, serial dating, and sleeping around.

Irritable, moody, depressed

And you’re not willing to do anything about it, such as pray, meditate, help others, or seek professional help such as a therapist. This is a major sign that your life has become unmanageable.

Owing people money

Along the lines of spending money with reckless abandon comes the consequence of not having enough money for, say, the important things like food and bills. Constantly having to borrow and then owe people money is a sign that your spending – and life – is out of control.

Buying cigarettes/vape supplies before making sure you’ve covered your financial responsibilities

This includes all the other stuff, other than the obvious things like rent and utilities such as making sure your car insurance and registration is up to date. People who are sober yet living in chaos often neglect these incidentals, leading to major troubles if they’re caught.


Sometimes, people in recovery, although clean sober, are in the habit of lying and being dishonest, even about stupid sh*t. In fact, they lie for the sake of lying. This, this is no good.


If you find yourself isolating but tell yourself you just need some alone time, this could be a sign that your life is out of control and that you might even be headed for a relapse. There’s nothing wrong with having time alone to recharge your batteries but, if you’re overdoing the solitude, it’s highly important that you take a good look at that.

Taking care of legal issues – past and present

Such as racking up legal issues – as small as multiple parking tickets to speeding and reckless driving. Neglecting these things is a sign that you’re avoiding your responsibilities and are therefore headed for more chaos and unmanageability.

Struggling with substance abuse or addiction? Recently coming back from a relapse? We’re here to help. Call us toll-free at 1-800-777-9588 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist to find out about resources and options. We’re here around the clock. You are not alone and help is available.




Could “Back Burner” Relationships Be Harmful to Your Recovery?

Posted on August 4, 2014 By

Could "Back Burner" Relationships Be Harmful to Your Recovery?

There is a great amount of value in the relationships we cultivate in recovery and the way our personal development changes in these relationships. It has been said that in early recovery serious intimate relationships should be avoided during the initial growth process, to give time for real emotional stability. But when faced with romantic relationships, some people keep what has been referred to as “back burner” relationships, and the nature of this kind of connection in early recovery gives it the ability to be very harmful to your sobriety, whether you’re early in recovery or not.

What is a “Back Burner” Relationship?

The idea of the “back burner” relationship has been recently looking into more in depth with a controlled study, and the individuals conducting the study describe “back burner” relationships as,

“…a person with whom one is not presently committed and with whom one maintains some degree of communication, in order to keep or establish the possibility of future romantic and/or sexual involvement.”

Recent Study on “Back Burners”

Jason Dibble and Michelle Drouin are two psychologists who  investigated how the back burner phenomenon and its role in relationships today by recruiting young men and women for a study on if and how they use social media, texting, and other media to maintain such relationships. The study involved 374 young men and women with an average age of 21. Some in the sample reported being in an exclusive romantic relationship, some said they were not. The entire sample completed questionnaires about their use of cell phones and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Those who were in committed relationships answered questions about how committed they felt—and about how many back burners, as defined above, they might have in their personal network, along with the overall quality of each back-burner relationship.

It was quickly determined that this group used text messages, Facebook and social media, and cell phones to keep up contact with their “back burners”. All together there was a reported average of five-and-a-half “back burner” relationships. The researchers assumed that individuals in exclusive romantic relationships would have fewer “back burner” relationships than single individuals. However this was not the case. The average number of “back burner” relationships for the two categories was about the same. Further, the total number of back burners remained consistent regardless of how committed these men and women felt to their primary relationships.

How “Back Burner” Relationships Harm Recovery

Given the statistics from this study, it is fair to say that technology and social media interactions today have made the maintenance of “back burner” relationships much easier, and in many ways it has almost become normalized in modern culture. However in recovery this practice is hazardous to sobriety because it goes against many keep principles in recovery, and it only invites more stress and emotional turmoil. The same can be said if you are the one being the “back burner” while someone else weighs their options at your expense.

“Back Burner” relationships can cause serious trouble in recovery by contradicting many of the essential values that become important when working a program of recovery. These ‘just in case’ romances take away from the core concepts that contribute to lasting sobriety such as:

  • Honesty
  • Trust
  • Respect
  • Humility
  • Integrity

All these things factor into your spiritual fitness and emotional growth. If you are constantly undermining these important parts of your recovery by using others as ‘back up plan’ relationships and not valuing them as individuals you run the risk of stunting your growth and lapsing back into old behaviors.

This kind of relationship also can create more drama and conflict in your life. When someone is kept to the side and lead along they may cultivate resentments and retaliate. They could eventually lash out against you, or they could simply move on and cause damage to your ego. Either way it has the potential to have negative impact on your emotional well-being.

Both the harm to personal values and the risk of conflict are definitely multiplied drastically for those in recovery who are already in some kind of serious relationship! If you are already supposed to be ‘committed’ to one person, and yet you have a few potential replacements already on stand-by that you give just enough attention to keep them interested, you are sabotaging your emotional health and throwing a lot of those principles of recovery out the window.

Just try to imagine your knee-jerk reaction when the person you’re supposed to be committed to finds out, and they hurt you in some way to get back at you, and then your “back burner” finds out and bails too. And the spiritual fitness you should have to resolve the guilt or stress is not there because you have consistently acted in a way that dilutes you honesty, integrity, and humility to a point where you defenses from old coping habits are too weak, and your spread too thin from not applying your program of recovery to your life.

Some relationships, behaviors and habits are more damaging than we care to notice until it is too late. If you are having reservations in your relationships, it may be a sign that something more serious needs to change, or your relationship needs to change, before you cause suffering for yourself and others in recovery. Remember that we are growing in our hearts, and fighting for our lives! If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588

Drug Treatment for My Wife

Posted on August 1, 2014 By

Drug Treatment for My Wife

Drug addiction can touch any family member, and some husbands find themselves asking the question ‘Where do I find drug treatment for my wife’ but have no way of knowing how to approach the situation. In order to stop any other substance abuse you should be sure to ask yourself ‘what would be the best type of drug treatment for my wife’ or ‘where is the best place for drug treatment for my wife’. Determining that your spouse has come to the point that you need to seek drug treatment for your wife to separate her from her addictions and unhealthy habits presents the question of how to go about that process in the most comfortable and effective way possible. Drug treatment facilities are the best place to begin the detox process, and depending on which one you chose, it could greatly impact the entire recovery process.

Drug Treatment for My Wife: How Should I Know?

These are just a few simple symptoms you want to look for in your wife’s behavior when considering the need for rehabilitation.

Physical warning signs of drug abuse

  • Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual.
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  • Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits.
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination.

Behavioral signs of drug abuse

  • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school.
  • Unexplained need for money or financial problems. May borrow or steal to get it.
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors.
  • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies.
  • Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities).

Psychological warning signs of drug addiction

  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts.
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness.
  • Lack of motivation; appears lethargic or “spaced out.”
  • Appears fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason

Drug Treatment for My Wife: Professional Facilities

Detox centers are designed to consistently provide the highest level of professional patient care. The facility you chose for your wife should be fully staffed with people who have extensive experience with related fields of therapy and holistic care, and with the health insurance industry. In order to create the most influential and positive changes necessary for rehabilitation the drug treatment you decide on should also actively offer personalized detox and aftercare programs. It is very important to give patients a variety of treatment methods and supports to choose from.

Drug Treatment for My Wife: Affordable Care

When you have to wonder ‘can I afford drug treatment for my wife’ you should know that many treatment facilities appreciate how recent years have consisted of changes that make in necessary to offer a new model of alcohol and drug addiction treatment without financially creating obstacles for you or your family, especially if the income will be affected by your wifes absence while undergoing this important transformation.

The right kind of treatment center will give your family hope, so that your significant other can receive the therapy and health care they need, with options for assistance for all who qualify and other payment arrangements. You want to seek out a facility that will do possible to provide quality treatment in the most cost-effective way.

Drug Treatment for My Wife: Strong Medical Staff

Qualified drug treatment centers come complete with nursing and other medical staff that is experienced in the area of drug addiction, substance abuse, and alcohol addiction. From my personal experience you need a staff that commits to being attentive and supportive. Asking ‘how will drug treatment for my wife see to her medical needs’ is very necessary, and in the proper facility symptoms or withdrawals should be addressed and cared for with compassion and done as effectively as possible. The medical staff should be more than willing to explain the medications you wife is to take to help her through the process of physically detoxing, and any other health issues she may need attended to.

Drug Treatment for My Wife: Continued Recovery

Education for patients on the continued maintenance of recovery from addiction and substance abuse is essential to a productive foundation. The disease of addiction is one that does require staying active and growing after detox, and there are all types of treatment programs and after-care resources available for your loved one after completing time in drug treatment. These programs are established to show your wife new ways to work on self-improvement and continued recovery to build her new foundation for a new life. This also makes the process of transitioning back home easier for your wife once she has completed her treatment.

As a wife and a mother a woman trying to recover from alcohol or drug addiction has many challenges to face and emotional conflict to resolve. It is a very important process and should be handled with the utmost care and compassion. If your wife or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588

In The News: Oxycodone/Naloxone Pill Developed

Posted on July 31, 2014 By

In The News: Oxycodone/Naloxone Pill Developed

There’s a new painkiller coming to a pharmacy near you. It’s called Targiniq and it’s just been approved by the FDA.

The drug is a combination of the powerful painkiller, oxycodone –the generic name for the painkilling substance found in Percocet and Oxycontin, and Naloxone, an opiate blocker, in an effort to deter abuse. The opiate blocker Naloxone is a drug that is used to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose and, as a ‘blocker,’ has the effect of cancelling out the ‘high’ that people seek when abusing opiates.

Targiniq is designed to curb abuse by only working as it is intended to. That is, according to Dr. Daniel Hussar, Professor of Pharmacy at the University of Sciences, the painkiller pill with combat pain when swallowed as prescribed; however, if the user snorts or injects it, the naloxone will kick in, rendering the pill useless as a recreational drug and might even induce withdrawal in some users, known as being dope sick – an extremely uncomfortable condition.

“When it gets into the system at the same time as the oxycodone, it will block the effect of the oxycodone, and those abusing the product will not derive the same high that they otherwise might,” he said.

As it stands, this new formula of the drug will only be available in longer-lasting, also called extended release medication, which is often prescribed to cancer patients.

Officials with the FDA noted that approvals of painkillers take into account deterring potential abuse while still providing some way of providing relief for patients who suffer intense daily pain that does not respond to other medications.

In recent years, the FDA has come under intense pressure to reel in the use of narcotic painkillers due to an increasing number of reports of escalating painkiller abuse in the United States.

For example, in 2010, Purdue Pharma introduced a hard-to-crush version of Oxycontin, and research has shown that abuse of Oxycontin has since decreased, according to CNN.

According to the latest CDC estimates, deaths related to overdoses of narcotic painkillers have quadrupled since 1990, reaching more than 17,000 deaths in 2011.

Are you taking painkillers even though you’re not even sure if you need them anymore? Do you want to stop but can’t seem to be able to? Believe it or not, many people find themselves in situations like these. The good news is that there’s help available. Call us toll-free at 1-800-777-9588 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist. We are available around the clock to answer your questions and share our resources. You are not alone. Call today.