Tag Archives: Drug Rehab

Former Child Star and Current Housewife Kim Richards Enters Drug Rehab

Kim Richards was a Disney child star, and now she’s a star on the reality TV show, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

As the show has followed her interaction with fellow housewives including sister, Kyle, concerns have been expressed in numerous ways about Kim’s erratic behavior, and some of the women have conjectured that Richards has a problem with drugs and alcohol – one that is creating issues for her socially and personally.

Though she and sister Kyle vehemently denied that Richard’s issues were related to drug and alcohol abuse throughout the season – both on camera and to numerous media outlets as well as on personal blogs – it seems that Richards’ has had a change of heart. The latest reports state that she is headed into drug rehab to get the help she needs to find emotional and physical balance in her life.

It’s not the first time that Kim Richards has headed into treatment, but everyone is hoping that this time will be the last time, and that she’ll get what she needs to create real change for herself and her family.

Friends and family have responded to the news hopefully. Says one source to Us Weekly: “Kim’s alcohol addiction along with other substance abuse problems has been obvious for quite some time, but it’s really good that she’s finally getting help. It was really just a matter of when she would enter rehab. I think everyone is actually pretty happy she’s taking the proper steps forward to deal with her issues.”

Even on the show, the cameras have documented explosive fights and emotional outbursts, ostensibly related to Richards’ behavior while under the influence. Sister Kyle even called her an alcoholic during a huge fight on season one’s finale, but by the second season, the two sisters had reconciled and Kyle seemed to be covering for her sister – or at least looking the other way. Staunchly defending her sister when another housewife accused her of abusing drugs at a party, Kyle seems to struggle with her sister’s issues.

It’s not an uncommon problem for family members. Love and hope for the best can often skew the perspective, causing family members to blame everything but the actual cause for the problems caused by addiction.

Says another source: “The relationship with everyone is so strained and it was because they weren’t going to coddle Kim – she had to know when she was ready to do this…She’s making the right decision.”

If you or someone you care about would like to follow the example set by Richards’ and get addiction treatment help, contact us at Michael’s House today.

Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients: Pros and Cons

According to CNN and a number of other news sources, Florida officials once took quick strides toward implementing a new program that would require potential recipients of cash aid and welfare to undergo drug testing when they apply. Some think this idea is great. Others are offended by the implications; therefore, it’s important to take a look at both the pros and cons.

Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients: The Pros

The way proponents of the new drug testing initiative saw it—and that includes the lawmakers who were signing it into policy—it’s not fair to ask taxpayers to pay for the drug addiction of those who are receiving welfare if they are, in fact, using those funds to buy heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, etc. Although most would consent that not all beneficiaries of government assistance are using illegal drugs, because some may, they believe all should be tested.

Drug deal going downFlorida’s Governor Rick Scott signed the legislation that would make it mandatory for adults who were applying for aid to undergo drug testing as part of the application process.

Said Scott: “It’s the right thing for taxpayers. It’s the right thing for citizens of this state that need public assistance. We don’t want to waste tax dollars. And also, we want to give people an incentive to not use drugs.”[1]

Two years later, the law was permanently blocked from being enforced in Florida.[2] However, currently there is proposed legislation reintroducing a similar idea but with a narrower focus, which would require testing only of those formerly convicted of drug crimes.[3]

Do These Pro-Drug Testing Arguments Stand Up?

The incentive not to use drugs is a positive aspect to the new legislation. If knowing that your cash aid depended upon your ability to produce a clean sample and pass a drug test could help you to stay clean, then it’s likely for you to be motivated to stop your drug use.

You would, theoretically, be able to spend your time going to school or looking for a better job that pays more than welfare and so more quickly reduce your need for state assistance.

Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients: The Cons

Some who would have to undergo the drug testing are offended by the implication that simply because you are having financial problems you also have a drug addiction. They say that the stigma against those who receive funds from the government is bad enough without making it worse with mandatory drug testing. Others say that it may stop people from seeking aid who need it to properly care for their children.

Do These Anti-Drug Testing Arguments Stand Up?

The only problem with these arguments is that, if welfare recipients aren’t abusing drugs, then the drug testing will actually serve to remove some of the stigma of implied drug addiction that many assume even without drug testing. Additionally, it should be pointed out that most jobs also require random and mandatory drug testing done sporadically throughout employment—not just at the time of application. This is actually far more lenient than others endure making the same amount at local retail store working part-time.

What do you think? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion on mandatory drug testing for welfare recipient applicants. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, we can help. Please call us at our 24 hour, toll-free helpline, 760-548-4032. We can connect you to the best treatment programs available and answer any question you may have. Please call now.


[1] http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/06/01/florida.welfare.drug.testing/

[2] http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/drug-testing-and-public-assistance.aspx

[3] http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article138294058.html

Drug Testing for Judges: Should It be Mandatory?

You have likely had to take a drug test at some point in your life. You may have had to take one before getting hired. You may have been randomly screened once or several times after beginning work. Many jobs require drug testing. One job that doesn’t is that of judge. The question is, should it?

Why Do Jobs Test for Drug Use?

Judges may not have to submit to drug tests, but a lot of us do. According to The Atlantic[1], “The best estimate is that about 40 percent of U.S. workers are currently subjected to drug tests during the hiring process.” Individuals who don’t get tested before hiring may still face random drug screens after. There are several reasons employers are eager to test for drug use.

Judge delivering verdictSafety concerns are some of the top reasons for on-the-job drug testing. U.S. News[2] shares, “Drug use, in general, is tricky for employers because it is difficult to know how long the effects may linger. Given the uncertainty, it is easier for employers to start with a drug test so that they may avoid any unnecessary risks brought about by habitual users of any drugs.” If someone drives a vehicle or operates equipment as part of their job, drug use can create serious risks. Alcohol, marijuana, painkillers and other substances seriously impact judgment and reaction time. Testing can increase safety.

Drug testing may also improve job performance. When you are using drugs, you are distracted at best. You are more likely to make errors, to create slack your coworkers have to cover, and to be absent from work for health or personal reasons.

Drug testing does more than create a safer, more productive work environment. It creates the promise of this environment.

The Society for Human Resource Management[3] (SHRM) explains, “Drug testing may even improve employee morale by demonstrating an employer’s commitment to providing a safe work environment and by keeping workers out of the awkward position of having to cover for drunk or high colleague.”

Workplaces with pre-employment screenings or random testing do not have to actually be safer or better to feel that way. Morale goes a long way toward creating healthy, happy employees. Even if drug testing doesn’t impact employee health and performance directly, it can indirectly create a better place to work.

Drug testing creates opportunities for healing. Losing your job because of drug use can be the wake-up call you need. It can cause you to take a closer look at your relationship with drugs and to consider treatment. It opens the door for conversations with loved ones, doctors, and treatment providers about options and next steps for recovery. If you job has employee assistance programs in place, you may be able to get help without even having to lose your job. Let a failed drug test or concerns about future testing provide incentive for recovery, a healthier life, and better future career prospects.

Why Don’t Judge Have to Take Drug Tests?

Workplaces and employees may benefit from drug testing. Employees are happier, and given opportunities to heal. Employers benefit from greater productivity and fewer accidents. State governments recognize that drug testing can be a good thing.

The SHRM explains, “A handful of states give employers a financial incentive by discounting workers’ compensation premiums when they test employees for drug use.”

More and more employers use testing during and after the hiring process. Despite the popularity of this practice and government recognition of its benefits, state officials and judges are exempt from testing. If drug testing is such a good thing, why is this the case?

As the American Bar Association[4] (ABA) shares, “Judges who use illegal drugs cannot provide the state and its citizens with fair and impartial trials.”

Judges do not operate machinery as part of their jobs. However they are required to be mentally focused and present. Drug use disrupts anyone’s ability to aware and make good decisions.

As the National Institute on Drug Abuse[5] shares, long-term drug use changes the brain. It directly affects a person’s:

  • Learning
  • Judgment
  • Decision-making
  • Stress
  • Memory
  • Behavior

We all need to be able to learn, make good decisions, manage stress, and act appropriately. This is as important for judges as anyone else. A judge’s words and actions directly impact the lives of others. Drug use by state officials can have even further-reaching effects than drug use by other individuals. Judges need to take responsibility and hold themselves accountable. Addiction can affect any person in any job, and when it does, treatment becomes an urgent personal and public health matter. Drug use calls for understanding and action. Reach out to Michael’s House. Learn how to help yourself or a loved pursue a healthy life and long, successful career.

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/06/drug-testing-effectiveness/394850/. “The Pointlessness of the Workplace Drug Test.” The Atlantic. 4 Jun 2015. Web. 20 Apr 2017.

[2] http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2017-01-17/how-to-handle-pre-employment-drug-testing-where-marijuana-is-legal. “How to Handle Pre-Employment Drug Testing Where Marijuana is Legal.” U.S. News. 17 Jan 2017. Web. 20 Apr 2017.

[3] https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/Pages/1110zeidner.aspx. “Putting Drug Screening to the Test.” The Society for Human Resource Management. 1 Nov 2010. Web. 20 Apr 2017.

[4] http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/state_legislators_propose_mandatory_drug_testing_of_judges_and_other_state/. “State Legislators Propose Mandatory Drug Testing of Judges and Other State Officials.” American Bar Association. 1 Mar 2012. Web. 20 Apr 2017.

[5] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction. “Understanding Drug Use and Addiction.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Aug 2016. Web. 20 Apr 2017.

Race Statistics, Drug Addiction and Prison

Reports vary concerning the proportion of U.S. prisoners between whites, blacks and Hispanics. Some say that the proportions are nearly equal involving sentences of one-plus years in state prisons for a drug-related offense. The most serious offense for 206,300 of those 1,316,409 inmates involves illegal drugs. What might come as a surprise – due to sensationalized media reports – is that prison composition statistics from 1990 to 2014 actually reveal a reduction in the percentage of African-Americans among convicts overall.1

Disproportionate Number of Convictions: What Does It Suggest?

Hands on jail barsStill, while recognizing that men greatly outnumber women in the jails and prisons, the incarceration rate for black males remains 3.8 to 10.5 times greater at each age group than for white males and 1.4 to 3.1 times greater than the rate for Hispanic males. The largest disparity between white and black male prisoners occurs among inmates of 18 to 19 years of age. For black men in their 30s, one in ten is in jail or prison on any given day.2

“The main obstacle to getting black America past the illusion that racism is still a defining factor in America is the strained relationship between young black men and police forces,” observes John McWhorter, author of How the War on Drugs Is Destroying Black America. “The massive number of black men in prison stands as an ongoing and graphically resonant rebuke to all calls to ‘get past racism,’ exhibit initiative, or stress optimism. And the primary reason for this massive number of black men in jail is the ‘war on drugs.’”

Therefore, he concludes, if this war could be terminated, racial friction in the American social fabric “would no longer exist and our country would be a better place for all.”3

Imprisonment for Drug Use and Trafficking: What Is Gained and Lost?

Under harsh sentencing guidelines, such as ‘three-strikes and you’re out,’ a high proportion of young black and Hispanic men are imprisoned for life as a result of a history of untreated addiction and several prior drug-related offenses. This situation is leaving states to absorb the staggering cost of not only constructing additional prisons to accommodate the growing number of prisoners who will never be released, but also warehousing them into old age.

Furthermore, the collateral damage of these statistics is this: 1 in 15 African-American children, 1 in 42 Latino children, and 1 in 111 Caucasian children have a parent in prison. In some areas, a large majority of African American men – 55 percent in Chicago, for example – are labeled felons for life. Even if they make it out of the “big house,” felons typically find acquiring gainful employment very challenging.In addition, they may be prevented from accessing public housing, student loans and other public assistance.1

So, with history indicating that the challenges leading a person to prison – such as drug addition, alcoholism, untreated mental illnesses, and a lack of employment opportunities – are actually made worse by incarceration, prison time contributes not only to further financial desperation, but also a loss of family and social ties.4

Race and Ethnicity Factors Show Up in Drug Abuse Statistics

Reflective of the incarceration numbers above, recent statistics suggest that race/ethnicity makes a difference when it comes to the use of illicit drugs.

The U.S. government reports that these percentages of various people groups are currently abusing illegal drugs:

  • Those reporting two or more races: 14.7 percent
  • African Americans: 10.1 percent
  • Native Americans and Native Alaskans: 9.5 percent
  • Caucasians: 8.2 percent
  • Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders: 7.3 percent
  • Hispanics: 6.2 percent
  • Asians: 3.6 percent5

The numbers and percentages surrounding legal prescription drugs and other chemicals is less certain. Other reports, such as those involving opioid abuse, indicate that epidemic proportions already exist in the U.S. Naturally, as a result, the number of emergency services and incarcerations occurring due to such drug abuse, addiction and overdose continues to rise.6

A Quality Drug Rehab Program Can Break this Vicious Cycle

Regardless of the race or culture of an individual, studies show that the best way to help someone break free from the cycle of drug addiction and its consequences is to go through drug rehab for an adequate period of time.

Some jails and prison systems are incorporating such treatment into their programs. Shown to have marked success, many courts now dictate an assigned length of drug rehab to drug offenders in order to avoid a prolonged prison sentence.7

Lawmakers are also stepping forward. For instance, both houses of California’s state legislature passed bill SB 649, which gives judges and prosecutors the option of charging people convicted of drug offenses with misdemeanors instead of felonies; offenders can then be sent to substance abuse treatment centers instead of prison or jail.8

If you have a jail or prison record due to drug use and would like to avoid future legal, relationship and health problems, very likely the best thing for you to do is show the judge that you are determined to get clean by entering a drug addiction treatment program. Call us on our 24/7 toll-free line, and we will provide you with the information and guidance you need in order to do just that. We care…and it shows.

“Race and Prison”, Get the Facts, DrugWarFacts.org, http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Race_and_Prison#sthash.klEVezMW.dpbs, (last revised 2017).

“When It Comes to Illegal Drug Use, White America Does the Crime, Black America Gets the Time”, The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/17/racial-disparity-drug-use_n_3941346.html, (September 18, 2013).

3 “End the Drug War, Save Black America”, Fox News Opinion, Fox News, http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/03/16/john-stossel-end-drug-war-save-black-america.html, (March 16, 2011).

Moore, Lisa D., Ph.D., “Who’s Using and Who’s Doing the Time: Incarceration, the War on Drugs, and Public Health”, National Center on Biotechnology Information, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2374804/, (May 2008).

5 “Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations”, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, https://www.samhsa.gov/specific-populations/racial-ethnic-minority, (February 18, 2016).

6 “Inside a Killer Drug Epidemic: A Look at America’s Opioid Crisis”, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/us/opioid-crisis-epidemic.html?_r=0, (January 6, 2017).

7 “Treating Drug Abuse and Addiction in the Criminal Justice System: Improving Public Health and Safety”, National Center for Biotechnology Information, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2681083/, (January 14, 2009).

“California Bill Would Give Drug Users Treatment Instead of Prison Time”, The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/11/california-drug-treatment_n_3909240.html, (September 13, 2013).

Drug Rehab: What to Tell Your Kids

Some parents believe they should protect their children from their addiction when they seek treatment at drug rehab. Go ahead and let that idea go. No matter how well you think you have hidden your drug addiction from them, your children know. They’ve watched you struggle with it for years, and they are scared.

Father talking to sonThe fact that you are getting drug addiction treatment will, in most cases, give them cause for more hope than they may have had in a long, long time. Include them in the entire process – before you go, while you’re away and after you get back. Furthermore, give them the space they need to think and feel what comes naturally along the way.

There are many things you can do to help your children more effectively deal with the fact that there is drug addiction in the family, as well as help them understand the dangers of drugs and the importance of making wise, life-impacting choices. Own up to your past decisions and help your kids learn from them.1

Before Drug Rehab: Guide Your Kids’ Expectations

Before you go to drug rehab, sit down with your kids and talk to them about it. Show them pictures of where you will be. Let them know that there are many rules, like when you can talk to or see them. Find out when the first family visiting day is and put it on the calendar before you go. Make sure that whoever is caring for your children while you are away is aware of these dates and times and will help your kids remember and look forward to them. Most of all, encourage them in looking toward a brighter tomorrow.2

During Drug Rehab: Show Them How Much You Care

Call your kids whenever you get a chance and, if allowed, send emails and postal mail. Plan ahead for visiting day and think about what they might like to do when they come to see you. When they arrive, show them the pictures you have of them in your room. Let them know how much you miss them and that you can’t wait to come home. Very importantly, prepare yourself for meeting life’s challenges positively.3

After Drug Rehab: Help Your Kids Adapt to the New You

When you return home after drug rehab, it can be a difficult time for everyone. You’re now on the right track, but still susceptible to having a drug use relapse. It’s called being “in recovery” for a reason. You are in process. You and your family are beginning a new way of life.

Your kids may not know what to expect, or they may have a preconceived idea of what you will be like. They may be angry about your addiction or have high expectations for your behavior. Here are some suggestions for resuming life positively with your children at this critical point in your relationship:

  • Spend meaningful time with your children– What a powerful investment time can be. Knowing that the adults in their life truly care about them can get children through even the roughest seasons of life.
  • Talk with your kids about drugs– Explain how taking drugs can hurt health, relationships and future prospects. Tell them you’re committed to not abusing drugs, nor do you want them to use drugs.
  • Keep close tabs on your children– Know where your children are and what they’re doing. Keeping track of your children isn’t invasive of their privacy; it’s a key way to protect and show you love them.
  • Set clear rules and enforce them fairly– Kids need rules they can count on, even if they act like they don’t like them. That’s how they learn for themselves what is safe and what can get them in trouble.
  • Be a good example for your children– You might not think so, but kids look up to their parents. Model how to get along with others and effectively deal with stress so they will learn how to do it.
  • Teach your children how to refuse drugs– Kids often do drugs just to “fit in” with the other kids. Help them practice how to maintain self-respect and say no if someone offers drugs.
  • Make your home safe– Don’t allow people who abuse alcohol or other drugs into your home.In addition, keep track of medicines, cleaning products and other potent chemicals that could be abused.1

Start Early, Go Deeply in Seeking to Effectively Reach Your Children

Look beyond your own issues and needs. Drug rehab is difficult for everyone involved, so band together to get through it. Work hard at trying to understand your children’s perspective. Give them permission to express their own feelings and concerns openly and honestly.If outside help is needed, many have found “family therapy” to be very useful (if conducted by a highly qualified counselor from a reputable center).4

At Michael’s House, we are eager to serve the entire family, as appropriate, when drug addiction or other mental illness has created turmoil and disruption. Call us toll-free anytime, day or night, for more helpful information or for suggestions on which of our many services could meet your specific needs.

Remember, you hold considerable influence over your children’s values and decisions about substances and lifestyle, especially early in life.If you start the conversation about making good choices when they are very young, continued visits through the challenging adolescent years should be much easier. Children who feel that they don’t “fit in” are more likely to risk dangerous things in order to please their friends.Take advantage of the opportunity to instruct and advise them while it exists. Your silence and avoidance of topics, like the use of alcohol and other drugs, might actually communicate the wrong message.

Even if some bad choices were made in the past, you can turn things around. Think change. Think new. Think future. Do what you can to get everyone in the family headed in the right direction…beginning with you. Your diligence today can build their dreams for tomorrow.2

[1] “Help Children and Teens Stay Drug-Free”,Easy-to-Read Drug Facts, National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/content/help-children-and-teens-stay-drug-free.

[2] “Make a Difference: Talk to Your Child About Alcohol”, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/makeadiff_html/makediff.htm, (2009).

[3] “The Next Step…Toward a Better Life”, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA12-4474/SMA12-4474.pdf, (2011).

[4] “Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy”, National Center for Biotechnology Information, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64269/.

What to do if Your Insurance Company Refuses to Pay for Rehab

If you struggle with substance abuse, it is important to know there are laws on the books that require group insurance health plans to cover addiction treatment.

Health insurance formsGroup health insurance plans must follow all state laws and provide for any and all additional coverage requested by an employer. The truth is that some insurance providers will do anything and everything they can to deny individuals coverage for drug and alcohol addiction treatment. The financial incentive to do so is simply too great for them not to fight payment—or to pay the least amount possible.

The following is a look at what you can do if your insurance company refuses payment or reimbursement for expenses associated with rehab treatment.

Check Your Employee Handbook

The first stop should always be your employee benefits handbook. Your company may have a policy in place that overrides the decision of the insurance company. While you may be hesitant to contact your employer’s human resource department regarding addiction treatment, as long as you are not currently using illegal drugs, you are protected by law. The Americans with Disabilities Act states that you cannot be fired by your employer for disability.[1]

Ask Government Agencies for Help

State offices are the ones responsible for the enforcement of addiction treatment insurance laws. If you feel that you are not getting the coverage required by law, contact the office of the state insurance department, state health department or even the attorney general’s office.The Affordable Care Act states that mental and behavioral health services are essential health benefits. All health insurance plans must cover counseling, mental health inpatient services and substance use disorder treatment.[2]

Ask the Rehab Center for Help

Drug and alcohol rehab centers will generally stand by you as you work through coverage issues with an insurance company. In addition, addiction treatment centers may be able to provide some alternatives to help offset the cost of care such as private financing through their network of lenders. Many treatment centers offer payment plans as well as other flexible options.

Only Work With the Best Addiction Treatment Centers

High-quality drug and alcohol rehab programs understand the real seriousness of addiction.These treatment centers will allow you to start treatment while you settle things with your insurance provider. Most importantly, you should never delay treatment due to a conflict with your insurance company. Breaking the cycle of addiction and obtaining professional help is the most important thing you can do for your future. It is important to know where you stand with the law and to get as much information up front as possible. All other matters will work themselves out over time. If you’d like to talk to one of our admissions counselors at Michael’s House, know we are here to help. We want to help you get sober and live a healthy life. Get the information and support you need so you can move forward.

[1] https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/PHD1091/PHD1091.pdf Know Your Rights.

[2] https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage/mental-health-substance-abuse-coverage/ Mental Health and Substance Abuse Coverage

Alternatives to a 12-Step Program

If you struggle with substance abuse or addiction, you’ve likely heard that the secret to winning the battle against your addiction is using the 12 Steps.

Whether the 12 Steps you’re using have been adjusted for a process addiction, like gambling, they remain the most widely implemented treatment module for alcoholics and addicts. However, a 12-step program is not the only available program on the market. There are alternatives available that do not include spirituality with the addiction recovery process. As a result, the alternative approaches to the traditional 12 Steps cater to the mindset of logical addicts and alcoholics on the spectrum of afflicted individuals. Let’s look closer at a few of these methods.

The SMART Recovery model

SMART recovery model groupSMART is an acronym for Self Management And Recovery Training. SMART advocates point out their model’s effectiveness in keeping abreast of current research in the addiction and alcoholism fields. They base their recovery guidelines on science rather than spiritual principles. In addition, SMART’s face-to-face forums are open to discussion among members. While Alcoholic Anonymous meetings often require members to refrain from “cross talk” or exchanging narratives throughout the course of the meeting. SMART recovery is more lenient than a traditional AA meeting. Conversation is welcomed with open arms as long as it is conducive to the topic at hand.

SMART is based on scientific research, advocates the appropriate use of prescribed medications and psychological treatments. SMART also teaches members the tools to cope with stress in a healthy way. SMART groups even touch upon alternative venues for which to have fun in sobriety.

Rational Recovery

Rational Recovery (RR) is another alternative approach to the 12 Steps. This approach utilizes Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT). RR trains participants to distinguish between the healthy, logical side of their brain and the unhealthy hemisphere.

Rational Recovery builds many of its lessons around the premise that the addictive voice, routinely personified as “the beast” which is an evil creature that dwells within all human beings as a byproduct of instinct. “The beast” seeks pleasure whether the source is from sex, drugs, or fluids. The ability to quiet the beast is where true self-discipline and AVRT techniques are put to the test.

Rational Recovery tries to narrow down addiction and alcoholism into simple blocks of distinguishable features that make it manageable for members on a daily basis. Rational Recovery is controversial in the sense that it dismisses the disease concept of addiction. Instead, this approach considers addiction to be a lack of self-will.

Many find this message to be somewhat offensive. For instance, as the authors of Rational Recovery describe the beast, they write,

“Your survival appetite is aimed at the wrong stuff, to be sure, but addiction is more a reflection of health than of a mysterious disease. The desire for pleasure fades among sick or diseased people, further suggesting that addiction is a reflection of health rather than a disease process.”

In RR, some call the human mid-brain “the party center,” because of the bond between pleasure and addiction. Of course, it is often quite stupid (self-defeating) to act on healthy desires or impulses, as in substance addictions. Adjectives such as “stupid” and “ridiculous” are commonly utilized in the context of describing traditional methods of alcoholism and addiction treatment, i.e. the 12 Steps.

Accelerated Recovery

Accelerated Recovery claims to have the best non-12-step approach to breaking dependence on alcohol. This program treats the physical and psychological problems alcoholism but does not focus on spirituality. As you can tell, less God and more science is the trend among non-12-Step recovery approaches.

There will always be alternative approaches to the 12-steps cropping up. It is important to remember that recovery is not just about stopping one isolated behavior (drug use) but learning a new way of life.[1] Human beings love to debate, and the 12-step modality as the gold standard is a topic of no exception.

No matter what approach you find is the best fit for you, it is important to get sober.

Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.[2] If you need help with a substance abuse problem, please reach out to one of our admissions coordinators. We are there to answer any questions you have and can even help you determine what forms of treatment are covered by your insurance. Don’t wait. Make this important call today.

[1] Why the Hostility Toward the 12 Steps? Sack, David. Psychology Today. Published on Nov 20th, 2012.

[2] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction Treatment Approaches For Drug Addiction.

Having a Healthy Pregnancy After Drug Addiction

You’ve hit the bottom with your drug addiction, yet you’ve fought your way back up. Now you’re at the point where you are thinking about having a baby. Whether this is your first pregnancy or your fifth, you need to prepare your mind and body for this major change.

You also need to stay on track with your recovery plan. Here are a few valuable tips to help you have a healthy pregnancy during your addiction recovery.

Get a Strong Body for Pregnancy

When it comes to getting in shape, why wait until you are pregnant? Start your exercise habits now. Choose simple things you can do nearly every day such as walking, swimming, yoga, or other activities. Of course, when the time comes, you’ll need to speak with your doctor about exercising safely during the various stages of pregnancy.

Remember, exercise is an important part of your recovery plan as well. Exercise is a great way to keep your stress levels low all the time. When you have a tense day, exercise a great way to unwind. Working out helps your blood circulation, your energy levels, and even your mood. Each of these is vital to your continued addiction recovery plan as much as they are your pregnancy.

Good Nutrition is Essential

Nearly every drug addict or alcoholic has poor nutrition when they start recovery. Addiction isn’t a healthy lifestyle, so they aren’t getting regular well-balanced meals. Addiction can change a person’s appetite dramatically. Just two examples make this point – meth addicts typically lose a great deal of weight because of a suppressed appetite, and alcoholics can have weight problems because of the empty calories in alcohol. Proper nutrition helps the healing process. Nutrients supply the body with energy. They provide substances to build and maintain healthy organs and fight off infection.[1]

No matter what your drug of choice was, you’ll need to be sure you are on track with your nutrition before becoming pregnant. If you went to a treatment center that focused on nutritional counseling, you may be a step ahead. If not, talk to your doctor or a local nutritionist for some guidance.

Establish good eating habits well before your pregnancy so you can be as healthy as you can from the start. Once you become pregnant, you may notice some differences in appetite and food preferences. While these may be unavoidable, you can handle it all better if you have been sticking to a healthy diet. Plus, everything you eat will benefit your baby down the road.

Use Your Support Network

Pregnancy is a time of wonder, but it can also be a stressful time. Your emotions and hormones will likely take a roller coaster ride. Once the baby is born, some women struggle with their emotions. You want to take intentional steps to avoid drug cravings during times of stress. When you were a participant in substance abuse, you likely used drugs as a way to handle stress. Know that stress will likely be a trigger for you.

A trigger can be thought of as anything that brings back thoughts, feelings, and memories that have to do with addiction.[2]

Now is the time that you need to engage your support network. You need to have people around you that will encourage you after the baby is born. You may even want to arrange for some help after the birth so you can get enough rest. Watch for anything related to your relapse triggers – family issues, sleep loss, trouble focusing on positive things under stress, etc.

Healthy Pregnancy After Getting Sober

You can have a healthy pregnancy while in recovery. Just be sure you plan ahead to get a healthy start. Be prepared and do not overlook the support you need to have a healthy pregnancy. If you need some help, please know you can contact us at Michael’s House. We are here to help you live a life without substance abuse. Please reach out to us at 760-548-4032 now.

[1] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002149.htm Substance Use Recovery and Diet

[2] Triggers and Relapse, a Craving Connection for Addicts. Jaffe, Adi. Published on March 17th, 2017.

Addiction Relapse: Getting Back On Track

Your drug rehab counselor says relapse can happen to anyone going through recovery. Your recovery friends tell you that relapse is part of the process, it’s not the end of the world, and you can get through it.

That’s what they say, anyway. It sure feels like the bottom of a dark pit to you.

Your efforts with sobriety are not lost just because you’ve had a relapse. The positive changes you find in recovery are never lost.You just need to find your recovery again– it’s still yours and it’s still inside you. You may feel down and out now, but you are just one step away from getting your sobriety back on track.

Take One Step Back to Sobriety

Woman in hoodie on beachThat’s right, it just takes one step to get back on the path of sobriety. What is that step? It’s the decision that you are going to be sober for the next moment, no matter what it takes. Don’t think about next week, last month, yesterday, or tomorrow.

The next moment is all you need to focus on. Before long, the next moment turns into the moment after that, and the next five minutes, and the next hour. Whatever you need to do to stay sober for the very near future will get you through the worst of it.

Get in touch with a good sober friend and start talking. Go somewhere with a lot people where you can just walk around for a while. Get outdoors and enjoy the fresh air, maybe even some sunshine. Find some good music and soak it up. Do something that distracts you from the cravings, changes your mood, gets you out of isolation, or gets you away from your triggers.

Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Black-and-white thinking is a big part of addiction. Even when you are sober, this kind of negative, all-or-nothing outlook can make sobriety challenging. You may tend to look too far out into the future with many “what if” questions.

It will help you more to stay with your current moment of reality. When you get caught up in lots of worry about staying sober in the future, you lose sight of what you can do to be sober right here and now. The future will take care of itself. Stay where you have the power; you have power in the moment you are in at this very moment.

Rebuild Your Sobriety After Relapse

Take that one small step towards sobriety and slowly build your future again. Don’t let the emotional leftovers of your relapse take away the importance of this first step. It’s the beginning of your sobriety and it’s important. If you have trouble taking this first step, talk to a drug or alcohol rehab counselor for more help. You can call us anytime to learn more about getting and staying sober.

Drug Addiction Recovery: Filling the Void

When you stop using drugs, you begin to see the big, ugly gap you were trying to fill. This gap existed long before the addiction developed. In fact, it was probably a large part of the reason you began using drugs in the first place. There was a void or emptiness you didn’t know how to face or manage. You felt overwhelmed by your emotions or frustrated by a lack thereof. You tried to cover gaps so you wouldn’t fall into them. You tried to numb emotions or raise the right ones.

Addiction only made the void bigger and the feelings more powerful, but you couldn’t see that. Addiction wouldn’t let you see that. Now that you are beginning your recovery journey, the void is visible. And it is scary. Don’t worry! When you have the support of peers, loved ones and experienced professionals, there is always a person or a method on hand to help you fill the void.

Addiction and the Void

Addiction is closely tied to your thoughts and emotions. How you think and how you act are interrelated. When your thoughts lead to drug use, the action that was supposed to fill or at least hide a void only makes it bigger. Translational Psychiatry1 shares, “The prefrontal cortex has extensive connections with subcortical structures that regulate emotional processing, including the amygdala. Alcohol and drug exposure impairs emotion regulation in this region, with interconnected medial and cingulate networks showing enhanced reactivity to arousing stimuli and reduced capacity to suppress negative affect. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) also act to appraise and regulate negative emotions. These cortical areas over-activate in response to substance-related stimuli.”

This is a complicated way of saying drugs impair your ability to manage your emotions. If you turned to drugs to help you feel better or fill a void, you already didn’t know how to positively process or manage your feelings. Addiction only makes this worse. Luckily emotional regulation is a skill, and skills can be taught. You can learn how to look at and fill the void.

Start Where You Are

Woman with head in hand

Facing, much less filling, the void may seem overwhelming. When you begin your recovery journey, step back from the edge. You don’t have fall in. You don’t have to fill it at once. You don’t have to leap across it. Recovery is gradual. Your treatment team will push your boundaries and comfort zone, but they will never ask you to do more than you can manage. They understand that getting sober can be as scary as staying addicted. Psych Central2 considers this the most common fear related to recovery. They explain, “Getting sober means replacing your primary coping mechanism – drugs and alcohol – with new, unfamiliar ones. The process can be uncomfortable, particularly for someone who is afraid of feeling in general.”

There’s no denying that recovery is mentally challenging. You are facing a void you’ve been ignoring for a long time. You have to change habits, thoughts, and ways of acting that, if not safe, at least felt comfortable.

Change is a necessary part of recovery. However, you will never be asked to do more than you can handle. You aren’t expected to leap into the void of recovery feet first and hope you’ll be fine. You turned to drugs and alcohol for distraction and false feelings. You wanted a solution. You knew drugs and alcohol probably weren’t the best choice, but they seemed to work at first. You did the best you could with what you had and what you knew.

As Scientific American3 explains, “Recovery programs teach…fundamental principles of emotional regulation because addicts do not know them intuitively.” You don’t enter treatment knowing the right way to fill the void. You don’t enter treatment prepared to face the gaps in your life. If you knew how to do these things in a healthy, positive way, you would have already.

Recovery is here to teach you how to face the void. Peers and professionals gently guide you and help you develop the skills and strengths you need for recovery. Treatment teaches you how to not just fill the void but repair the gap that began it in the first place.

Pausing for Perspective

When the void seems too big or recovery too overwhelming, don’t give up. Pause and find perspective. Ask for professional support. The void won’t be, and can’t be, filled overnight. You don’t have to do it all at once, and you don’t have to do it alone. You can step back from things that are too difficult or painful to manage right now. This doesn’t mean you get to avoid coming to terms with experiences, memories, and feelings. It does mean you don’t have to face them all right at the beginning. It does mean you will never have to face them without support and understanding. Learn how to manage your emotions. Learn how to fix the gaps in your life rather than widen them with the wedge of addiction. Take the right first action, and the rest will follow. Call Michael’s House at 760-548-4032 for immediate support and information.

Start the Journey Today!


1. http://www.nature.com/tp/journal/v7/n3/full/tp201734a.html. “Effects of naltrexone are influenced by childhood adversity during negative emotional processing in addiction recovery.” Translational Psychiatry. 7 Mar 2017. Web. 23 Mar 2017.

2. https://blogs.psychcentral.com/addiction-recovery/2014/06/6-common-fears-in-addiction-recovery-and-how-to-face-them/ “6 Common Fears in Addiction Recovery – and How to Face Them.” Psych Central. 9 Jun 2015. Web. 23 Mar 2017.

3. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-nuts-and-bolts-of-emotional-sobriety/. “The Nuts and Bolts of Emotional Sobriety.” Scientific American. 1 Mar 2012. Web. 23 Mar 2017.