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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Steps to Take Before You Welcome Your Child Home From Addiction Treatment

You’ve been counting down the days until you could welcome your child home from their treatment program. Now that the big day is almost here, you may be feeling like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. It’s normal for any parent in your position to feel happy, anxious, stressed and excited, sometimes all at once.

While your child will have made a lot of progress in addiction treatment, it’s essential for you to remember that they are only at the beginning of a lifelong process of recovery. It will involve sacrifice for you and your family, and it’s smart to plan for how you will deal with it. Although your daughter or son is ultimately responsible for their success, you can learn how to support them along the way.

1. Remove All Temptations

The first step you should take is to clear all intoxicating substances out of your house. Go through your medicine cabinet and safely dispose of expired or unused prescriptions. Keep any current prescriptions under lock and key. Likewise, remove all alcohol from your home, or take steps to secure it. Take special care to search your child’s room for drugs, alcohol or any paraphernalia.

2. Get Naloxone and Learn How to Use It

If your child’s substance misuse issues stemmed from opioids, having naloxone on hand can be lifesaving. Naloxone, marketed under the brand name Narcan®, is a non-addictive drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose. Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a naloxone kit from your drugstore without a prescription. Make sure the naloxone kit is in an easy-to-access place, and that everyone in your family knows how to administer it.

3. Familiarize Yourself With the Aftercare Plan

Whatever your treatment facility recommends for your child’s next steps, make sure you understand the plan and have familiarized yourself with what you need to do to support your son or daughter. For example, you may need to attend counseling as a family, or drive your child to appointments with a therapist. Be willing to take time off from work, if necessary, to fulfill your obligations. Your continued involvement makes a difference, whether your child is willing to acknowledge it or not.

4. Set Reasonable Boundaries

If your child drank or used drugs for a long time, it likely took a heavy toll on your family. The secrecy, denial, manipulation and self-destructive behavior associated with addiction disorders can erode relationships, and it will take time and concerted effort to rebuild. Once your child returns home, setting healthy boundaries can ensure you are developing a foundation of mutual trust. Some families find it helpful to draw up a recovery contract that defines their expectations and outlines consequences for breaking the rules.

5. Be Patient

The earliest days of recovery will probably be the most challenging for everyone involved. Your child will most likely go through periods of emotional upheaval. There will be days where they feel angry, frustrated or distant. Other times, your child may be like the person you remember from before addiction took hold. Be sure to savor the good moments, and be ready to listen on days where the struggle may seem overwhelming. There are no shortcuts in recovery.

Never Give Up

As crushing as it can feel to see your son or daughter wrestling with the burdens of substance misuse, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. At Hope Academy, our team of addiction specialists can help your child turn things around before addiction becomes a way of life. If you are ready to make a fresh start for your family, contact us today.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

5 Ways to Enjoy a Sober Halloween

Facing Halloween in sobriety, especially if it’s your first time in a long time that you’ve experienced this holiday without drugs and alcohol, can feel like an insurmountable challenge. It’s a holiday when people shed their inhibitions and do mischief, and for many people, Halloween is synonymous with drinking and drug use. However, Halloween can go beyond an excuse to dress up and get wasted. With the spookiest day of the year just around the corner, here are some tips to inspire you if you haven’t made your sober plans yet.

Celebrating Your Sober Halloween

If you have been used to celebrating Halloween in a haze of drugs and alcohol, you may be worried you will feel like you're missing out on the fun when you’re staying sober. If you’re struggling to come up with some seasonal and enjoyable activities to do on Oct. 31 this year, discover a new sense of inspiration with these ideas.

1. Go All-Out on Your Decorating

It’s never too late to transform your house into the spookiest one in your neighborhood. Now that you’re not wasting all your money buying drugs or alcohol, you probably have some extra cash to buy black-and-orange lights, fake cobwebs, tombstones, skeletons and all the other trappings. Even if you’re on a limited budget, there are plenty of affordable DIY Halloween decorating ideas you can use to scare all the neighbors. Seeing the delight on the faces of kids and adults who come around to trick-or-treat will make all your efforts feel worthwhile.

2. Host a Horror Movie Marathon

Round up your favorite scary movies, then invite a couple of supportive friends over to your home to watch with you. This option is ideal if you are unsure if you’ll be able to avoid the triggers of alcohol and drugs at someone else’s party. Organizing a get-together in an environment where you have full control over factors such as who will be there and what refreshments you will serve will ensure you stay sober on Halloween.

3. Have a Pumpkin-Decorating Contest

It doesn’t truly feel like Halloween has arrived until you get a few pumpkins and start carving a scary (or silly) masterpiece. Hit up a nearby pumpkin patch or farmers’ market to pick out the perfect canvas on which to create, and invite some sober friends over to join the fun. When you’re finished decorating, you can judge who created the best jack-o’-lantern of them all. If you’re stuck for ideas on what to carve, download some templates online. And if you’re looking for a tasty, healthy snack, don’t forget to save the seeds for roasting.

4. Hit up a Haunted House or Ghost Tour

If you’re the type who loves a good scare, Halloween is the perfect day to go through a haunted house or take a ghost tour with a few brave friends. Or, you can research places near you that have a reputation for being haunted and design a custom ghost tour for you and your “boo crew.”

5. Volunteer for the Night

Often, the best way to enjoy a sober Halloween is to give back to others in the community. Many churches and family shelters host seasonal costume parties or trick-or-treating events for families who are going through hard times. Not only is volunteering an excellent way to enjoy Halloween sober, but you’ll also have the joy of knowing you did something nice for others.

Get Sober and Happy This Fall

Even though you won’t be drinking or using drugs this Halloween, you can have as much fun on the holiday as much as everyone else – or even more. Whether you decide to do one of these sober Halloween activities, or branch out on your own, make sure to surround yourself with people who love you and respect your need to protect your sobriety.

If you are a young adult wrestling with substance misuse issues, you can get your life back and reclaim your full potential. At Hope Academy, our programming will help you learn to become healthy, resilient and goal-oriented. Contact us today to start revealing who you are without the crutch of drugs and alcohol.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

4 Opioid-Related Drugs Parents Should Be Aware Of

The opioid epidemic continues to be a nationwide health crisis, and even younger people are vulnerable to the threat. High school and college students often begin experimenting with prescription painkilllers found in their family medicine cabinet. Many of these drugs are highly addictive and are also available for sale online and on the street. With these fundamentals in mind, here are four of the most common opioid-related drugs and what you need to know to protect your child.

1. Prescription Opioids

If your child has ever had surgery or a severe sports injury, they may have received a prescription for pain relievers such as oxycodone (brand name OxyContin®) or hydrocodone (brand name Vicodin®). However, due to these drugs’ documented high potential for abuse, addiction and overdose, many states have made it more difficult to get a prescription. These measures include strictly limiting the amount of time a patient can use opioid drugs, as well as total daily dosage.

2. Heroin

People who have developed an addiction to opioids, but can no longer get a legitimate doctor’s prescription for these medications, may begin buying their drugs in the street. Drugs like heroin can be easier to obtain, but they can also be deadlier than prescription opioids.

Heroin’s effects include:
  • Extreme happiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Digestive problems
  • Sedation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unconsciousness

3. Fentanyl

Fentanyl, a lab-created opioid, can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine. In legal prescription form, fentanyl has legitimate medical uses for treating severe, difficult-to-control pain. However, makers of illegal drugs often use non-pharmaceutical fentanyl to increase the heroin-like euphoria of their product, which is why fentanyl-laced drugs are a growing concern of organizations like the Drug Enforcement Administration. People may buy illicit drugs without being aware they’re laced with fentanyl, making an accidental overdose more likely. Because of fentanyl's potency, a dose as small as two milligrams is enough to be fatal for most people.

4. Naloxone

Unlike the other drugs on this list, there is no potential for abuse with naloxone, marketed as Narcan®. Instead, the timely use of naloxone can save people’s lives by reversing an opioid overdose. Because opioid overdoses typically involve the gradual suppression of the respiratory system, first responders can use naloxone to restart someone’s breathing. Naloxone works by rapidly binding to opioid receptors in the brain and blocking the effects of opioid drugs.

Naloxone is available in a nasal spray form that makes it easy for anyone to administer, even people with no medical training. If you suspect your child is misusing opioids, it’s smart to have a supply of naloxone on hand, and familiarize yourself with the steps for responding to an opioid overdose. In some states, naloxone is available from pharmacies without a prescription.

Know the Facts

As a concerned parent, you want to be prepared so you can protect your child in any situation. Knowing the ins and outs of opioid-related drugs can help you recognize, react and respond when your child is using these drugs, and take steps to prevent their use from becoming problematic. If you need to get help for your family, Hope Academy can provide the solutions you’re looking for. Learn more about the details of our treatment program, then contact us to start the application process.
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