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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Do You Have the Right Test-Taking Skills?

do you have the right test taking skillsTests have always been a way to measure aptitude, skills, and understanding in school. However, they are also gateways for other aspects of our lives: getting a driver’s license, becoming a citizen, being hired for a job, or receiving a professional credential.

Test-taking skills are rarely taught, but they can make a big difference in how well an individual does on an exam. Here are three areas where you can improve your skills and improve your test performance.

1. How do you prepare yourself for the test?

• Do you know what to expect? Knowing the type and scope of the test allows you to focus and organize your thoughts.
• Have you kept up with the reading and notes for the class? Keep up with assignments and always be present for the exam review.
• Do you have the supplies needed for the exam: calculator, pencils, pen, and paper? Always come to the test prepared.
• Are you alert and focused? A good night’s sleep and nutritious breakfast will help you think clearly. • Are you feeling anxious? Do some deep breathing. Is your mind racing? Write down your thoughts and put them away for later. This will clear your mind and help you concentrate.

2. How do you prepare and present your knowledge?

• Do you answer study questions and make notes during in-class reviews? These activities often present a road map for the test that follows.
• How do you manage the testing time? Answer questions you know first and then go back to those you are unsure of. If an essay is part of the test, make sure you get to the point quickly and provide adequate support.
• When studying, do you look for relationships and results? Try to see the “big picture” and put the material in a context that you can remember, and that makes sense.

3. Do you have an accurate idea about your performance on the test? 

• Did you study the right material?
• Were you able to provide detail and support?
• Did you manage your time well?

Evaluating your performance each time you take an exam will help you identify your study weaknesses. Then, you will be able to do a better job on those areas when you prepare for the next test.

Study Skills, Life Skills, and Much More 
When you choose the rehab programs for young people at Hope Academy, you open the possibility for a whole new life. From detox to treatment for the mental and emotional troubles that brought on the addiction, our team guides individuals to recovery. Job prep and college admission round out the possibilities of the Hope Academy program. Call 866-930-4673 to learn about insurance coverage and to enroll your loved one today.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Starting the New Semester Off Right

starting new semester in addiction recoveryDid you end last semester with disappointing results? Had you expected a better performance from yourself? Don’t worry. Each semester in college is a new beginning, so take advantage of this opportunity to start over. Take time to reflect on what held you back last semester, and make a plan to change for the better.

Identify Your Weaknesses Do you procrastinate? 
Are you careless with your spending? Does your enthusiasm get you into too many activities ? Do you skip meals and neglect sleep? These questions may make you think of something your mom said once (or a million times), but don’t tune out just yet. You may find that there’s a grain of truth in all that advice you’ve been ignoring.

Turn Weakness into Strength
Independence means that you are calling the shots, so here are some suggestions to follow:

1. Learn to manage your time. Right before finals is not the time to catch up on all the reading you skipped. Begin the semester determined to stay on top of daily assignments and make regular class attendance a priority. Use a scheduling app or an organizer to allocate your time.

2. Balance your load. Be smart about which classes and activities you take on. Try to mix classes so that your study load is balanced. When you take on outside interests, opt for activities that let you set the schedule. Join a gym or yoga studio instead of playing on a team. Buy tickets to a performance series instead of being in the cast of a play.

3. Set up a budget and track your spending. As a semester ends, you won’t have time to worry about how your bills will get paid. If you start out at the beginning of the term with a budget, this is one worry you will avoid. There are books and apps that walk you through the steps to set up a budget and monitor your spending. When you have money for an after-finals celebration, you’ll be glad you learned this lesson.

4. Take care of yourself. This is actually a combination of all the other things on this list. If you manage your time, balance your load, and track your spending you will find that you have time, money, and enthusiasm enough enjoy yourself. It’s amazing how nutritious food, enough sleep, reduced stress, exercise and enjoyable social interactions can make you feel!

Hope Academy's Saddleback College Program
The college program from Hope Academy is designed to provide the life coaching, academic study skills, sobriety support, and job prep you need to make a fresh start as a responsible and sober adult. Would you like to achieve this goal? Call 866-930-4673 to get started today.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Holiday Gifts for College Students

holiday gifts for college studentsLife at college requires a lot of adjustments: learning to live with roommates; budgeting time and money; balancing study, work, and leisure time; and most of all, getting along without the daily TLC of being at home.

Sure, college students expect these challenges and even welcome them. After all, college is the time to spread their wings and take off on their own career paths and life goals. Still, they do love to know that someone back home is pulling for them.

This holiday season, parents and friends of students in college can choose from a wealth of gadgets and gifts that will ease the day to day college grind and bring some joy to their favorite students. Here are a few suggestions that are sure to be appreciated by students attending in-state or out-of-state college programs.

Electronics & Digital Gifts
Smart phones, tablets, and laptops are always at the top of college wish lists. This year, there are some new takes on old favorites:

• Charging backpacks, messenger cases & purses
• Pen scanners: a great way to take notes
• Headphones: noise eliminating, Bluetooth & sleep bands
• Bluetooth speakers
• Kindle Voyage & digital books
• Apps & app gift cards

Old-School Standards
Students who will be graduating soon will be set to enter the job market with these classics:

• Monogrammed business card holder for the young professional
• Leather portfolio to make a good impression when delivering resumes
• Books on time & money management, surviving college, or succeeding at the job hunt
• Personalized journals to keep track of dreams & life goals

Relief from College Stress 
For the student who is reeling from college exams or the weight of college loans, here are some gift suggestions to ease the stress:

• Membership at a gym, health club, or yoga studio
• Sports watch or fitness tracker
• Adult coloring books
• Meditation CDs
• Tickets to a concert or event

Personal Comforts
These gifts are always welcome additions to a crowded dorm room:

• Single serve coffee maker like the Keurig Mini
• A hanging toiletry case for keeping personal items organized & accessible
• Bedside storage caddy
• Care packages: Mom’s are best, but check out the dorm survival kits on Amazon.

When in Doubt
Some items are always a hit. If you don’t know what a college student needs, opt for:

• Restaurant gift cards
• Plane tickets
• Gift Certificates
• Cash

For an extra touch, tuck these into a Christmas stocking or slip them inside a personalized card you made at shutterfly.com or vistaprint.com.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Season of Giving: Gift Ideas for Newly Sober Friends

gift ideas for sober friends Stumped about finding a just-right gift for a friend or family member walking through addiction recovery? Ask yourself: How can I help them redirect their time toward constructive activities? How can I remind them how proud I am of their sobriety accomplishment? With questions like those in mind, here’s a list of possible gift ideas that will bring joy to your sober friend this holiday season:

An acupuncture or massage gift certificate. Many recovering drug or alcohol users benefit from acupuncture or bodywork, since it eases withdrawal symptoms, promotes relaxation, and flushes toxins from the body. Choose a well-reviewed medical clinic in your area, or opt for a spa that offers a variety of treatment options. Your friend or loved one can select the healing experience that is most appealing to them.

A personalized coin or pendant. Websites like Etsy and Zazzle offer hundreds of sobriety gifts like personalized medallions, key rings, and jewelry pieces. Include a Bible verse, personal note, or inspirational quote that reminds the recipient of how strong they are—and how far they have come.

A customized sobriety journal. Journaling is particularly cathartic during addiction recovery, and chances are it has been recommended as part of your loved one’s therapy program. Visit websites like PaperSource or CafePress to create a custom journal design that inspires them to write about their sobriety journey and document their future dreams and plans.

Lessons. Your friend or family member will need to fill their sober hours with activities and diversions, and you can give them a healthy start. Purchase a gift of music, cooking, art, or golf lessons. You may want to attend the class with them and learn something new, yourself!

Magazine subscription. Everyone enjoys mail, and magazine subscriptions give people of all ages something to look forward to each month. Websites like Amazon have hundreds of magazines in dozens of categories, from sports and gardening to politics and current events.

The Gift of Addiction Recovery
Before you decide on a present, remember that the most important thing you can do for your friend or family member is to spend time with them, offer support during their recovery journey, and love them unconditionally.

If someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction but has not taken steps to get help, Hope Academy offers residential, outpatient, and sober college programs. To speak with a member of our team or begin the admissions process, contact us online or call 866.930.4673.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Gambling Addiction & The Brain

gambling addiction and the brainFor many people, gambling is just a diversion. Unfortunately, like other addictions, it can quickly progress into a compulsion that robs people of their financial security and drastically changes their behavior, relationships, and priorities. In recent months, mental health professionals and scientists have begun classifying gambling as an addiction, placing it in the same category as drug and alcohol abuse.

Research indicates that gambling shares many diagnostic criteria with drug dependence, such as tolerance, withdrawal, and radical disruption of one’s life. Gamblers also report significant urges and cravings when they are unable to place a bet.

According to Jon Grant, addiction researcher at the University of Chicago, “People will get inured to the high of gambling at a certain point and need to gamble with bigger bets and riskier betting options. When people try to stop, they go through withdrawal, with insomnia, agitation, irritability, and a feeling of being ill at ease, similar to what we see in some substance abuse disorders.” Gambling problems also seem to run in families, alongside street drug, prescription drug, and alcohol addictions. So—if your family is prone to addictive behaviors, you may be driven to impulsivity and reward-seeking behaviors, too.

Symptoms of Gambling Addiction 
If you’re not sure when betting for fun has turned the corner toward a gambling addiction, watch for these signs:

• Lying or being secretive about financial decisions
• Borrowing money from credit cards, banks, or family members
• Gambling when you cannot afford to make house or utility payments
• Always betting “more” to get a gambler’s high
• Experiencing depression & anxiety that results in sleep deprivation or health problems
• Exhibiting restless or irritable behavior when you can’t get your fix
• Returning to bet more in order to “chase a loss” from a previous day
• Prioritizing gambling over eating, sleeping, or socializing

When study participants watch videos depicting gambling, or participate in virtual gambling games during brain scans, there are changes in blood flow to certain areas of the brain. Gambling has thus been reclassified as a behavioral addiction because these imaging studies show that the brain’s reward system “lights up” during gambling just as it does during substance use. These types of studies tell us that behaviors can impact the brain just as powerfully as chemicals—and that it is important to seek help before any type of addictive behavior takes over your personal life, relational connections, and financial well-being.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Letter to the Future Me: Visualizing Recovery Success


letter to your future self recoveryVisualization is a technique often used to aid personal achievement in sports and career goals. It helps an individual focus on goals in a concrete and more meaningful way. It stands to reason, then, that visualization would also be a useful tool for someone just beginning the journey to sobriety and recovery.

When you reached a point where alcohol and drugs disrupted your life and sidetracked your dreams, you had the courage to get help. Now that you are in treatment, you are finally able to look forward again. It is time to start reconnecting with those waylaid dreams and setting new goals.

Write a Letter to Yourself 
An interesting visualization exercise involves writing a letter to your future self. In rehab, you are getting insights into the aspects of your life that led you to substance abuse. In recovery, you will still need to deal with such problems, but you will have new strategies, support, and motivation to aid you. Such empowerment will make you a different person. What will that person be like?

• Will the new you want to return to school?
• Will you continue with the same occupational goals, or will you want to branch out into a new field? • Where will you want to live? With a roommate, or would you prefer to live alone?
• Do you want to reconnect with anyone? Will you be making new friends? In what situations?
• Do you see yourself participating in activities: mountain biking, yoga, theater, art class, gardening, or volunteering?
• Will your personality be different? Has your time in rehab helped you mature? Will you be more confident?

Share Your Letter with Your Therapist
As you share dreams, goals, and thoughts with your future self, you will be creating a vision of the life you are hoping to live. You may also be revealing your apprehensions and self-doubts. Rehab is a great time to examine these uncertainties. Share your letter with your rehab counselor or support group. Their input will give you perspective and help you achieve the new life you have envisioned for yourself.

The Gateway to Your Recovery
At Hope Academy you’ll find innovative rehab programs to help young adults like you find new meaning in life. When drugs and alcohol have put your future on hold, you need a substance-free way back to school, work, and social activities. Our peer-based programs offer career counseling and college prep, in addition to rehab therapy. Our admissions team at 866-930-4673 is waiting to assist you with insurance verification and enrollment. Call now to begin the journey to a better future for yourself or your loved one.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Handling the College Social Scene as a Sober Student

staying sober in collegeKnown for its emphasis on partying, alcohol, and social substance abuse, the college scene can be a scary place for a recovering drug or alcohol addict. According to the Alcohol Policies Project, binge drinking is the most serious problem on college campuses. It is believed that over 44% of U.S. students participate in this pastime.

A 2014 National Institutes of Drug Abuse study shows that 6% of college students smoke a joint every day. For the first time, this number is higher than the number of students who light up a cigarette every day (5%). “It is clear that for the past seven or eight years there has been an increase in marijuana use among the nation’s college students,” says study leader Lloyd Johnson, a researcher from the University of Michigan.

While these statistics are alarming for those trying to stay clean while they pursue higher education, there are sober college opportunities that make it easier. Saddleback Community College, for example, is a fully accredited community college offering more than 300 associate degrees and certificates. Hope Academy partners with Saddleback College to provide a college experience that helps students stay focused on sobriety while taking on the responsibility of college coursework and job planning.

Tips for Staying Sober at College

• If you are immersed in an atmosphere that encourages partying and substance abuse, the first thing to do is shore up your defenses. Stay in regular contact with your sponsor, pastor, therapist, or addiction counselor. Build a sober community of likeminded individuals who choose to replace partying with game nights, movies, bowling, and other social alternatives.

• Go to coffee houses or the student union instead of the bars. You’ll still find a vibrant social scene, but you won’t subject yourself to triggers you may not be able to resist.

• Join a group committed to a physical training program and plan for a 5K, half marathon, or triathlon. Begin a yoga practice or become a certified instructor. Many students say that when they are focused on a physical goal, it’s easier to stay away from unhealthy substances.

For many students, college life would be nothing without a party atmosphere. For the recovering alcoholic or drug addict, steering clear of the party scene can mean the difference between life and death. If you are in recovery and are dedicated to furthering your education through college coursework or vocational training, Hope Academy welcomes you. Our sobriety college allows students to live in Hope by the Sea’s college home while enrolled in classes, and students continue to participate in therapy, support groups, and relapse prevention planning while they attend school. To speak with our team about how you can afford drug rehab and sobriety college, click here. To learn more about Hope Academy, call our team at 866.930.4673 today.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Marijuana Use & Increased Ischemic Stroke Risk

marijuana increases stroke riskYoung cannabis users are at higher risk for ischemic strokes than those who don’t smoke marijuana, according to a recent University Hospital of Strasbourg study. The French team studied 334 patients under the age of 45 who had suffered this type of stroke, which is caused by an obstruction in blood flow to the brain. Fifty-four of the study participants were marijuana users.

While prior research has reported links between pot use and stroke incidence, the French study is the first of its kind to compare stroke differences between users and non-users. Findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Marijuana & Ischemic Stroke: Study Findings

• Arterial narrowing (stenosis) was the stroke cause in 45 percent of cannabis users while stenosis was the stroke cause in only 14 percent of non-cannabis users.
• Blood clots that shifted from other body regions to the brain were the most common causes of stroke (29 percent) in non-marijuana users.
• Marijuana users who experienced a stroke were younger than other stroke patients. 
• The marijuana-stroke patients were more likely to be male, more likely to smoke, and more liable to exhibit additional lifestyle risks.

“The effects of cannabis have been considered benign for a long time; however, evidence continues to build about the relationship of its use with stroke,” said journal editor-in-chief Dr. Valentin Fuster. The French study did not find that marijuana use causes strokes, but it is another indicator of the concerning link between the drug and this particular type of brain attack.

“This is an important study because it helps change the public mindset about marijuana,” said Dr. Richard Libman, vice chair of neurology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, NY. According to Libman, marijuana is “not as safe as many would like to think of it, including from the stroke standpoint.”

Get Help for Marijuana Dependency

If you’ve fallen prey to the belief that marijuana is a harmless social drug, you may need help. Hope Academy serves young adults struggling with marijuana addiction, marijuana abuse, drug addiction, alcoholism, and other unhealthy dependencies. To learn more about our drug rehab, sober college, and aftercare services, reach one of our team members at 866.930.4673 today.

*For the latest information on ischemic stroke causes, symptoms, and treatments, visit the National Stroke Association website.

Source article: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155351.html.

Full study findings: Valérie Wolff, Ielyzaveta Zinchenko, Véronique Quenardelle, Olivier Rouyer, Bernard Geny. Characteristics and Prognosis of Ischemic Stroke in Young Cannabis Users Compared With Non-Cannabis Users. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2015.

Friday, October 30, 2015

It’s Not About You: 3 Ways to Avoid Letting Tough Customers Get the Best of You

avoid letting tough customers get the best of youWhen it comes to working with the public in your post-rehab job, it’s easy to get discouraged. Sometimes it seems that you’re surrounded by people who are stressed, overwhelmed, and angry—particularly if you work in a customer service setting. Conflict is unavoidable, but it helps if you prepare to deal with difficult people before you encounter them. Most importantly, remember that your old, maladaptive coping strategies (turning to drugs or alcohol) are no longer an option. Now is the time to develop constructive ways to deal with workplace and social stress.

Whether the people you encounter are handling situations poorly, taking their anger out on you, or are just plain rude—the following tips can help you remain in control of yourself and your responses.

1. Take a breath before reacting. 

Take a deep, abdominal breath before responding to an angry customer. If you respond in kind, the situation could escalate. Studies show that practiced, diaphragmatic breathing (1) increases oxygen to the brain, and (2) stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to induce a state of relaxation.

2. Remember—it’s not usually about you. 

There are times when it is appropriate to correct your behavior or apologize to a client, but don’t get defensive if their frustration has nothing to do with you. Defensiveness is the number one reason we overreact to a difficult person. When we feel personally attacked or begin to internalize criticism, it is tougher to problem-solve. An angry customer is most likely frustrated with their service experience or unhappy with a product they purchased. Begin repeating in your head, “This is not about me. He is not upset at me; he is upset about his circumstances.” Then, listen to understand and ask questions to clarify the complaint. You do not have to put up with continuing verbal abuse, though. If you cannot solve a customer’s problem, offer to involve a manager before the situation gets out of hand.

3. Lower your voice.

As a customer’s voice escalates, consciously speak lower and slower in return. This type of response indicates your commitment to handling the situation in a professional manner, and may also have a calming effect. If you are responding to customers online through email or instant chat, take a deep breath and compose yourself before firing off a response. Remember, it’s usually not about you, and this is no time to pour kerosene on an already fiery situation.

Maintaining Sobriety During Stress 

When life stress has you contemplating a drink or a fix, call your therapist, your sponsor, or the Hope Academy team. Our credentialed addiction specialists are here 24/7 to answer your questions and provide post-rehab support, and our relapse prevention planning and sober communities are designed to help you achieve sustained sobriety as you return to school, work, and social situations. To learn more about our vocational training and college prep services click here. Dial 866.930.4673 to begin the admissions process or inquire about insurance and self-payment options.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Returning to College as a Military Veteran

military college drug addiction rehabTransitioning from military life to academics is always a challenge, and can be particularly difficult for veterans returning from deployment. Most veterans find that college life lacks the structure and consistency they are used to, and that they must learn to manage their personal and school time while fighting to reintegrate themselves into an unfamiliar civilian environment. For veterans returning from war or dealing with duty-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this shift is even more difficult.

Addiction & Military-to-College Transitions 

In some cases, veterans who have trouble adjusting to college life turn to drugs and alcohol as an escape from anxiety, academic stress, and relationship challenges. Many develop alcoholism or drug dependencies due to circumstances outside their control. Symptoms that can lead to addiction when they go unchecked include:

• Nightmares & insomnia
• Mental health conditions like PTSD, OCD, or bipolar disorder
• Suicidal thoughts
• Inability to focus on school
• Difficulty making new friends
• Feelings of numbness & hopelessness
• Lack of social & academic motivation
• Feelings of paranoia
• Inability to enjoy leisure activities
• Irritability, frustration or anger

Veterans may be seeking temporary respite from these debilitating symptoms when they decide to drink or use drugs. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for substance use to quickly move from occasional and controlled to frequent and addictive—which leads to further problems in the form of depression, physical and psychological dependence, social isolation, and academic failure. If you or someone you love finds themselves in this situation, sober colleges, sober living communities, and young adult addiction treatment centers can help. Veterans transitioning to college should also have a stalwart support system in place, including family, friends, pastors or therapists that they can turn to when civilian or academic life becomes too much to bear.

California Sober College for Veteran Drug & Alcohol Treatment

If you are a veteran or college student caught in the throes of substance abuse, Hope Academy could be the ideal rehab program for you. If you’ve recently returned home from deployment or are considering a transition from military to civilian life, our peer-based rehab program can help you manage stress without relying on a dangerous drug or alcohol addiction. Blending evidence-based addiction recovery programs with the opportunity to attend college or vocational training, we help military veterans and civilians prepare for a life of sobriety and success. To learn more about our college home and sobriety program, click here. To discuss insurance coverage and payment options, call 866.930.4673 today.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Politicians Reflect Changing Attitudes on Substance Abuse

politicians changing attitudes substance abuseFor decades, if drugs and alcohol were mentioned at all in a presidential campaign, it was in reference to the “war on drugs” or some scandal. Now, with the 2016 Presidential Primary season fast approaching, a new narrative about drug use is emerging from both Republican and Democratic candidates. Some presidential hopefuls are recognizing the terrible toll that substance abuse is taking on families and on society in general, and they are starting to move away from the policies of the past.

Less Incarceration, More Treatment

One of the biggest changes in the drug-use conversation has to do with sentencing of young adults and nonviolent offenders. In the past, much of the dialogue was centered on mandatory sentencing for illegal possession of drugs. In recent months, however, both conservative and liberal candidates are bringing attention to the fact that, as Carly Fiorina has put it, “When you criminalize drug abuse, you’re actually not treating it.”

Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and Martin O’Malley have all either proposed or signed legislation that makes substantive changes in the way non-violent drug offenses are prosecuted. Hillary Clinton is advocating a federally funded drug treatment program as one of her campaign issues. Jeb Bush, Christie, and Bernie Sanders have visited treatment centers and talked at town hall meetings with families touched by addiction. These politicians are starting to recognize addiction as a disease that can affect anyone.

Ditch the Stigma 

Part of the change in drug-related rhetoric is coming from candidates whose lives have also been touched by the tragedy of substance abuse. Christie lost a close friend from law school to addiction, and Fiorina’s stepdaughter died of an overdose. Bush has watched as his daughter deals with ongoing issues of recovery.

Perhaps, it is this first-hand knowledge of the heartache of substance abuse that is leading to a political shift from stigmatizing addiction to calling for effective treatment. Whatever the reason, recovering addicts, their families, and drug abuse specialists welcome the change.

Restorative Addiction Treatment

At Hope Academy, we recognize that the stigma of addiction can sometimes impede drug and alcohol recovery efforts. When you come to our beautiful CA seaside recovery center, labels are left behind. Individualized treatment, holistic therapies, college classes, and vocational training help you restore your mind, body, and spirit and prepare you for a life beyond drug abuse. Our skillful medical professionals and caring staff focus on helping you achieve sobriety and lasting recovery. Call 866-930-4673 to learn about our credentialed addiction specialists or to check out insurance and financing options for your individual recovery needs.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rock and Roll: Does It Help or Harm Recovery?

rock and roll therapy addiction treatment rehabRock and roll has been synonymous with sex and drugs for decades, two things that people recovering from substance abuse are decidedly better to avoid. However, music therapy (and particularly rock therapy) has recently emerged as a supplement to traditional addiction treatment approaches, and a growing number of experts are getting on board with the positive results. Even so, a central question still lurks in the minds of both patients and caregivers alike: can rock and roll provide an energetic and positive creative outlet, or are the life
style messages too counterproductive and damaging?

The Positive Aspects of Rock and Roll Therapy

While rock and roll has, since its very inception, come under fire for glamorizing dangerous and self-destructive lifestyles, this is not what rock and roll therapy is about. Addiction treatment programs that incorporate rock therapy don't engage with this aspect of music culture; instead, they provide participants with a healthy, creative outlet for working through stressful situations that might otherwise lead to relapse.

Participants in sober living and aftercare rock and roll therapy programs have been singing the praises of this creative approach to addiction treatment, citing a long list of benefits. First, music has been clinically proven to be one of the very best natural "medicines" for the soul; its ability to transcend everyday experience and create positive feelings in the listener or participant is second to none. Beyond the inherent healing power of music, rock and roll therapy provides an expressive outlet for working through the everyday problems and frustrations that tend to send addictive personalities spiraling into a cycle of self-medication.

While exposure to a genre of music that has historically celebrated indulgence hasn't yet caught on in the addiction treatment mainstream, a growing body of evidence seems to show that, in the right environment, there are many advantages. The key is to be engaged with this type of therapy alongside a group of people striving toward the same positive goals. Done right, rock and roll therapy can be a powerful alternative to conventional treatments—and is ideal for a young adult population that relies heavily on music as a source of creativity and empowerment.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Picking Up the Financial Pieces During Recovery

finances in addiction recoveryAddiction can turn your world upside down in untold ways. Your emotional well being, relationships, and physical health all take a beating. When you entered a rehab program, you probably expected to work on these areas of your life. Now that you’re doing the hard work and committed to leading a life of sobriety, it’s time to focus on your finances.

Money Matters

Many recovering addicts find themselves in dire straits, financially speaking. Young adults who are just starting out on their own dime often have trouble making sense of money, even in the best of circumstances. When addiction clouds your judgment – and burns through a significant pile of cash – learning to budget, pay taxes, and support yourself can be even more difficult.

While money can be a source of stress, try not to let it derail your recovery. Just like every other aspect of your treatment, your finances will fall into place with the right tools and some perseverance.

Use Your Tools

Lean on your counselor if your financial woes are constantly on your mind. Talk about your specific worries relating to money; just getting it off your chest can ease your stress and your substance abuse treatment team may have some suggestions or recommendations that could help you turn your finances around.

Life skills programs are designed for people who need help learning how to live a sober life independently. Take advantage of classes and one-on-one sessions that teach you how to budget, be smarter with money, plan for tax time, and save before you spend.

And don’t forget to communicate with your loved ones, too. Even if you’ll be on your own in the financial sense, a support system makes everything easier.

Residential and Outpatient CA Rehab Programs 

Hope Academy’s drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs for young adults include a range of sober coaching services, designed to teach valuable life skills that can aid in recovery. Call 866.930.4673 for insurance information or to speak to one of our staff members about our programs for adults age 18 to 26.

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Change of Focus: Job Searching in Rehab

job search in rehabWhen you were living a life of addiction, your focus was on the addictive substance that controlled your life. When you entered rehab, your focus turned inward as you tried to ferret out causes and become mindful of emotional triggers. Your hard work and commitment have led you to success in Sobriety College and now you are ready to step out into the job market. Once again, you will be called upon to change your focus.

Ask Yourself, “What Is This Employer Looking For?”

Knowing yourself and what you want from a job is important, but it’s not so important to an employer. An employer is looking for specific skills and characteristics that will bring value to their company. To convince them that you meet their unique needs, you must know and be able to articulate how you can fulfill those needs.

Do some research. Know something about the position before you apply for it. Read the job description carefully, looking for specific skills or talents that are mentioned.

Use this information to review your resume. Does it reflect these specifics? If not, you might want to make some changes to emphasize that you have experience or talent that is pertinent to the job.

• Are you short on job experience? Most young people are. Be creative in evaluating your abilities. Being a good listener may be as important for a sales position as knowing the specifics of a product.

• Worried that being in recovery might be a negative? Make it a positive. Be able to explain how your newfound self-understanding makes you a more confident, proactive employee. Emphasize that it has taken courage, resolve, and discipline to go through rehab while returning to school and completing your education. Those qualities will also make you a reliable and hard-working team member.

Keep a Positive Attitude

Hunting for a job is a challenge for anyone, especially in today’s economy. Try keeping a journal of your experiences. Note the people you talk to, their comments or questions, and your responses. Review it with a counselor or your support group. When the job search drags on (as it commonly does), it is easy to turn your focus inward with self-doubt. That’s the time to remember how far you have come since you entered rehab, and to refocus on what you have to contribute to a new job.

The job prep program at Hope Academy helps young adults successfully transition from rehab back into the workforce. If your career has been disrupted by substance abuse, we can help. Call 866-670-4673 to speak to a member of our admissions team about your opportunities for continuing your education while recovering from addiction, or to discuss the possibility of attending vocational training during rehabilitation.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Causes of Addiction: The Angst of Youth, Mental Illness, or Both?

young adult rehab CAWhen you first admit that you are caught up in substance abuse and in need of help, a flood of emotions pours in. You go through feelings of fear, disappointment, guilt, anger, and even relief.

Then, the questions begin. “Why?” “How did this happen?” “What’s wrong with me?”

While the answers to these questions are not readily apparent, they could be instrumental in determining your treatment. That’s why your journey to recovery at Hope Academy begins with a series of tests and a complete assessment to determine if mental illness has played a part in your dependency.

The Age-Old Chicken or Egg Riddle
Which came first? There is no clear answer. Young people routinely go through periods of emotional highs and lows as their bodies and personalities develop. At the same time, they face the demands of early adulthood. They must make decisions, take on responsibilities, and learn to fit in socially. Not everyone is prepared for these pressures, and some turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the pain and anxiety they feel.

It is at this very stage of a person’s development that mental health conditions also start to emerge and add to the mix of emotional swings, uncertainties, and feelings of isolation. A young adult, frightened by new and unexplained perceptions and feelings, may then turn to addictive substances in an effort to self-medicate the pain away. This complicates the picture, and the combination of problems may mean that the mental illness goes unrecognized for years.

Dual-Diagnosis for Success in Recovery
Admitting your addiction and entering rehab is a big first step in changing your life. But if your substance abuse is masking an underlying mental disorder, you will not fully recover until both conditions are addressed. Mental Illness and addiction may share many of the same symptoms, but they require different treatments.

At Hope Academy, your initial assessment will be followed up with a personalized treatment plan. If a mental disorder is indicated, the plan will include specialized therapy for the condition. Because it is so hard to unravel the cause and effect relationship between co-occurring addiction and mental illness, you’ll be treated for both conditions at the same time to achieve the best results.

Develop Your Full Potential

Are you worried that your addiction may be tied to a serious mental disorder? Hope Academy Rehab can help you sort out your mixed emotions, physical symptoms, and addiction root causes. Then, through our one-on-one coaching, sobriety college, and job prep programs, we’ll help you discover your full potential. Call 866-930-4673 and visit with a member of our CA addiction treatment team to learn about admissions and to explore insurance coverage. Our intake specialists are available 24/7 to get you the help you need!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Comfortable Detox: Your Best Chance for Success

California young adult detoxYou just had the big blow-up you’ve been dreading: the one where your family finds out about your addiction. And, it wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be. Sure, there were tears and shouting, disbelief, and angry questions, but in the end, they could see that you're desperate for help—and they got it for you.

 

Don’t Let Fear Stop You Now.

You’re on your way to detox at Hope Academy, and you’re really scared. Doubts race through your mind. “I’m going to be alone …Withdrawal hurts ... I’ll never get through it ... They’ll make me talk about things I don’t want to talk about ... I don’t want to disappoint my parents again, but I’m probably going to.” The resolve you had to get clean is evaporating.

Don’t Think. Just Do It!

Great news: You’ve already tackled one of the most challenging parts of the treatment process. Many people have yet to admit to themselves and their loved ones that they have an addiction—and that they need help to get sober. You have taken a big step, and inpatient detox will give you a successful start to your drug or alcohol rehab program. Remember, the worst part of withdrawal typically lasts only a few days (think of it as a nasty case of the flu). Once drugs and alcohol are out of your system, you will feel better, think more clearly, and have a chance to start liking yourself again.

Comfortable Detox at Hope Academy Sets You Up to Succeed!

Our supportive medical staff will create a personal treatment plan based on you: your addiction, your health, your underlying guilt and fear. We are professionals who have lots of experience with addictive behavior and plenty of tools to help you come through withdrawal. Your custom program may include:

  • Medical intervention, if you need it, for pain and the most severe effects of withdrawal.
  • Vitamin therapy and nutritional support to restore your health.
  • Holistic practices like yoga, acupuncture, massage, and meditation.
  • Support and guidance through emotional issues that emerge.
  • Peer support from other young people who are also recovering from addiction.

 Most importantly, we all want you to succeed!


What Comes Next?

Detox is just the first step on your journey away from addiction, but it’s a big step. If you haven’t enrolled in our comfortable detox program yet, call 866-930-4673 to start the process. Now, doors can open, and you’ll have the clearness of mind to step through to new life experiences. Want to return to work? Hope Academy has a job prep program with workshops and one-on-one counseling. Ready to continue your college education?  With Sobriety College, you can resume your studies in the safety of a drug and alcohol-free environment. Support, therapy, and endless possibilities await you after safe and comfortable detox at Hope Academy.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Choosing A Career, Part II – Three Steps to Help You Decide

There is no guarantee that the career path you start down in college will remain the path you stay on all your working life. Personal growth, technological advances, and economic changes are a few of the unexpected detours that might one day steer you into a change of vocation. Doing some soul searching and practical research now, at the start of your career, will help you avoid pitfalls. With thoughtful preparation, you’ll be on your way to making your first career choice the right one.



Step I: Discover yourself. 
·      Begin by doing an inventory of your likes and dislikes: “Like to be outside; dislike being in an office.” “Like having a plan; dislike the unexpected.”
·      List any experience or skills you might have. Did you work during summer vacations? Do you have a talent for music, art, or sports? Have you participated in volunteer activities that taught you a particular skill set?
·      Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Do you like to study? Are you an active person? Do you lead or just prefer to go your own way?

Having a clearer idea of your personality and competencies will make it easier to pair yourself with a compatible career.

Step II: Imagine your life.

·      What lifestyle are you hoping to achieve through your work? Will your career have a potential income to support such a lifestyle? Check sites like indeed.com to find salary ranges for different occupations.
·      How much education will you need? Success in some careers requires an advanced degree.  Are you willing to make such a commitment?
·      What kind of work environment can you expect? Travel? Isolation? High pressure? Long hours? Are those factors acceptable to you?

Envisioning the type of life you would have will help you determine if a career is right for you.

Step III: Explore the career. 

Before you get too far down a career path, you need to know just how far that road will take you.

·      Is the field expanding, or is the number of jobs limited?
·      Will you have opportunities for advancement? Are there related occupations that might offer additional opportunities?
·      Is it a dynamic career where initiative and imagination are rewarded?

Visualizing and preparing for the twists and turns of a career path will help you to respond flexibly and avoid dead ends.

Rehab That Gets You Back on Track

If you are a young adult who has encountered the obstacle of drug or alcohol dependency, Hope Academy can help. In addition to California addiction treatment, we offer a unique college prep program in partnership with Saddleback College. Call 866-930-4673 to start the admissions process and verify insurance coverage. We specialize in getting you back on track for a productive career and a sober, satisfying life!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Choosing A Career, Part I – Getting It Right the First Time

careers addiction recoveryAs a child, did you dream about being a doctor? Or maybe a firefighter, teacher, rock star, or astronaut? It's normal to cycle through a long list of ambitions when we are young—but by the time we enter college and are ready to begin training for a career, we often have little idea what we want to do. For many Americans, the first career choice is not one that will last a lifetime. In fact, it is estimated that the average person will change careers four to seven times before retirement.

Why Change Careers?

More personal satisfaction, improved earning power, and increased opportunities for advancement are often cited as reasons for making a career change. Sometimes a career becomes obsolete or an industry loses momentum. Other times we discover that the career we’ve chosen just isn’t a good fit. And often, economic reality forces us to question our initial choices.

The Downside to Career Change

There are significant costs to making a career change. In today’s economy, most occupations require formal education or some kind of certification. That means that entering a new field almost certainly entails returning to school or taking courses online. Educational expenses and the time required can be significant. In addition, the personal costs, like handling more stress and remaining dedicated to the task, can be high. If you are undergoing CA addiction treatment during a career change, the added stress is a liability you probably can't afford. 

Choosing Right the First Time

Think of the savings in time, money, and personal satisfaction if you were able to identify your "ideal career" at the beginning of your college life. It’s possible, but it requires advance planning and soul-searching in the form of: 

1. Testing. Take advantage of the aptitude tests and interest surveys that most high school and college counseling services offer.
2. Volunteering. Volunteer in a field you think you might enjoy, take a part-time job, or check out the many available vocational education programs.
3. Seeking wise counselTalk to someone who works in an occupation you find interesting. There are often opportunities to tag-a-long for the day with a professional. 
4. Personal inventory. Take inventory of yourself, the areas that interest you, and the economics of the job market. (More on this in Part II.)

It’s not possible to predict the future, but the more you can anticipate change, the more prepared and adaptable you can be in your career choices.

A Rehab Program That Includes Career Prep

Have you had your career path interrupted by drug and alcohol dependency? Hope Academy has a unique program for enrolling in college classes while you are working toward a life of sobriety. Our one-on-one coaching and sober-living community provide just the support you will need. Call 866-930-4673 to begin the admissions process or inquire about insurance authorization today.  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Facts About College Stress and Addiction

It’s not a surprise that drugs and alcohol are intertwined with college life. For many young adults, college is the first time they’re on their own, and the freedom can be, well, intoxicating.

But sometimes addiction sneaks up on college students, not because of the party culture, but due to extreme stress. The same young adults who revel in making their own decisions and dabbling in drugs may find that adulthood is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Whether the worry is about getting a passing grade in a tough class, trying to come up with next semester’s tuition payment, or learning to live with roommates for the first time, sometimes the pressure is just too much to handle. And that’s when self-medicating with drugs or alcohol can become a problem.

What Does the Science Say? 

Research finds that stress and drug abuse are inextricably linked. When faced with stress, the brain releases chemicals to help you cope. Drugs like heroin and morphine act similarly to the stress hormones secreted by the body, but more powerfully and more quickly. Therefore, your brain associates drugs and alcohol with feeling less stressed—so you keep doing more, and the destructive cycle continues.

Also, addiction is more likely in people who have a co-existing condition or dual diagnosis, such as depression or an eating disorder. These conditions are not uncommon in young adulthood.

Trends in College-Age Addiction

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), 80 percent of college students drink alcohol; more than half of this number binge drink on a regular basis.

Getting high on campus is a continuing trend too. Marijuana, cocaine, and prescription stimulant medications are prevalent among 20-somethings.

One-on-one coaching, detoxification, and talk therapy are all part of a multidisciplinary approach to addiction recovery for young adults who recognize their drinking or drug use has gotten out of control. Addiction may be a temporary roadblock in your journey of higher education, but it doesn’t have to permanently derail your plans.


Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery


Hope Academy offers a variety of drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs for young adults, including our unique sobriety college program. Our CA rehab programs for adults age 18 to 26 include residential treatment and outpatient programs, and our team is available to help with insurance authorizations, interventions, and more. Call 866.930.4673 to get help for you or a loved one--or to speak to one of our rehab specialists about sobriety college and vocational training during addiction treatment.

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