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Natural Insomnia Treatments

Posted on :  January 12th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Patients who are recovering from addiction, even those who are in treatment with methadone, often have trouble with sleep. If you have difficulty falling asleep, you could have insomnia which is a real sleep disorder that can become chronic. Getting regular sleep is important to maintain a good quality of life, especially when you are dealing with the stresses of recovery.

Recovering from opioids can lead to insomnia for several reasons. Because the brain is changing to life without heroin, the brain could have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Some people recovering from addiction could have other health issues that make it difficult to sleep. Even the chemicals in addictive substances can alter the cycles of sleeping and waking. Since many people who are recovering from addiction are used to passing out instead of falling asleep, they have to relearn how to go to sleep at night.

Instead of using chemicals to fall asleep, there are other options that work just as well. These methods can actually help with recovery because people learn how to use their bodies instead of medications to help themselves:

Build Sleep Habits

One of the best ways to defeat insomnia is to develop sleep habits. The best way to do this is to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each night and day. Sleeping in on the weekends can make a mess of sleep habits, especially if you are trying to get your body on a regular cycle. Eventually, your body will start to feel better after developing a pattern of being awake and being asleep. Sleep hygiene (in the form of sleep habits) can even help with headaches that can accompany recovery.

Avoid Caffeine Late in the Day

It is also a good idea to stay away from caffeine, especially in the afternoons and evenings. Caffeine can affect people for more than six hours after ingestion. Energy drinks, as well as coffee, tea, and sodas can affect sleep cycles, which can cause setbacks along the road to recovery. If you have questions about caffeine and how to fit it into your schedule, you should talk to your Towards Recovery therapist.

Build a Haven of Relaxation

Your bedroom should be a haven of comfort. It is best to remove distractions like televisions, computers, pets, and unnecessary lights. The room temperature should be comfortable – not too warm or cold. When you are in recovery, it is a good idea to sleep on your own, until you have developed a sleep pattern that helps you. Blue light inhibits sleeps, so turning on the television will not help you develop a sleep habit.

Do Not Hit the Snooze Button

Many people think that setting their alarm clocks early will help them get up earlier. Unfortunately, most people just hit the snooze button, which does not help people wake up any earlier than they planned. When you hit the snooze button, you actually end the best part of sleep – REM. It is best to set the alarm clock for when you really need to wake up.

No More Naps

Another way to mess with the wake-sleep cycle is to take naps because they will prevent you from falling asleep at night. Even though naps are an enjoyable way to relax in the afternoon, they do keep people awake at night.

Add Exercise to Your Day

It is also helpful to exercise every day. Even if you can take a short walk each day, try to do it. When you do exercise, you should avoid exercising close to your bedtime because your body could be too energized to fall asleep.

Create a Soothing Set of Rituals

Lastly, you can benefit from creating a ritual before bed. It is best to develop a series of rituals before bed. Some people enjoy reading or soaking in a warm bath along with taking care of the teeth and brushing their hair. Some will also pray or meditate as a way to relax the mind before resting for the night.

Contact Towards Recovery for more information. But if you need help or treatment, we encourage you to contact us on 519-579-0589.


Keep Your Medications Safe

Posted on :  January 8th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Patients who are on a path to recovery from their opioid addictions need to safely store their medications. Even though most patients never have any problems with their medications being taken by other people, there are always the occasional instances where medication accidents occur.

Invest in a Medication Lock Box

If you are taking methadone and you have dosages at home, it is a good idea to purchase a medication safe. These can be purchased online or at specialty medical supply stores. They usually work with keys or with combination locks. If you purchase a lock box with a key, do not leave the key in the hole; store it in a safe place.

Children and Methadone Do Not Mix

There have been instances when children have actually taken methadone and other prescription medications by accident. Since many medications look like different types of candy, children will ingest them without thinking twice. When children accidentally ingest an adult’s methadone, the treatment programs that prescribe methadone get questioned about their safety and appropriateness. Along with the medication safes, there are other ways to keep medication protected and safe from harming others.

Take Your Meds as Prescribed

It is important to take the entire dose as prescribed. If you are instructed to take an entire dose at once, then you should not split the dose and save some for later. This can create a danger for you and for anyone else who might see the remaining dose. If you are worried about your dosage, it is best to talk to your doctor at Towards Recovery so it can be adjusted.

Stay Vigilant about Your Medications

Even if you do not have children living at home, it is still important to stay vigilant about protecting your medication. If you have family members who come to visit, they could bring children to your home. Storing your medication in a safe place is the only way to keep it safe from potential problems.

Clean Out or Hide the Empty Bottles

Since you drink your methadone, you should be sure to rinse the bottle before you dispose of it. The residual medication could end up in the wrong hands and even the residual in the bottle could be dangerous to a young child. If you are worried, you can lock up the empty bottles, too.

Take Your Medication in Private

When you take your medication, do not take it in front of your children. They do not need to know about your recovery, so you should take it in private. Your children do not need to play with the empty bottles or anything other accoutrements regarding your medications.

Keep Your Medication a Secret

You should not tell anyone what medications you are taking other than your doctors. People who are addicted to opioids might come to your home to steal your medication. If you notice that your medications are missing, it is appropriate to call the police because it will alert them that a potential overdose could happen. Since the medications are dispensed to you, it is best that you alert the police if they are stolen to show that you were not involved in any problems that result from the theft.

Be Prepared for Accidents

If you do find that a child or someone else in your home has taken your medication, you should immediately call 9-11. You never know what could happen to the child or other person. You might lose take-home privileges, but it is best to be sure that people are safe. It can be helpful to have naloxone at home. Naloxone is an anti-opioid medication. Even if you have it at home, you should still call 9-11 if accidental ingestion occurs.

If you have any questions about keeping your medications and your loved ones safe, please talk to your therapist at Towards Recovery.


How to Tell If You Are an Addict

Posted on :  January 5th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

If you or someone you love abuses opioids, you might not know what to do about it. Without help, addiction can wreak havoc on families and individuals. Once you know what to recognize, you can help yourself or your loved one. You might be afraid that admitting to an addiction might be construed as a weakness, but it in actuality it is extremely courageous. The professionals at towardsrecovery.com can help you fight the addiction and win. Here are a few tips to help you recognize signs of addiction that you might not consider:

  • Using drugs to treat minor discomfort. If you need to use pain pills to help you sleep, you could be headed toward addiction. It is also a sign of potential addiction if you use drugs prescribed for one reason for an unrelated purpose. You should not try to cover your bad feelings with drugs, especially if you are trying to avoid your feelings.
  • Some addictions can actually fed by physicians. If you think that your physician or a family member’s physician is unscrupulous, then it is in your best interest to report that physician to the state medical board. They can investigate if the physician is feeding an addiction or not and take care of the problem.
  • Addicts know how to shop for doctors. If you have never heard of doctor shopping, it is a way for addicts to move from doctor to doctor to get several prescriptions for controlled substances. Doctors now use prescription databases to see if patients are shopping for doctors to get extra meds. If you notice that a loved one is spending more time at doctor’s office appointments than seems normal, then you should ask about doctor shopping.
  • Mental illnesses need to be treated by licensed physicians. All too often, people who are suffering from mental illness self-medicate with any type of drug they can find. The prescriptions that actually treat mental illness are not addictive. If you are worried about yourself or a loved one, it is important to get the right type of treatment.
  • It is not appropriate to share prescription medications. You may not realize that sharing prescription medications is a crime because it happens so often. If those medications are controlled substances, like pain pills, then you could be feeding an addiction. Some people will even sell other people’s controlled substances if they can get their hands on them. Prescription medications can cause allergic reactions or other serious problems, especially if the dosage is too much for the person who is ‘borrowing’ the medication.
  • Another sign of potential addiction is using slang for the names of drugs. If you find that your loved ones are referring to China white, smack, coke, meth, or even cocaine, then it is worth your time to pay attention. Those who are not in the drug scene usually do not know the slang lingo.

You do not have to remain silent. If you are worried that someone in your family is abusing opioids or other controlled medication, then you should make a phone call to our professional counselors and physicians at Towards Recovery for help. If you are worried about whether your suspicion is real, you can keep track of what you see in a journal. With privacy laws, the doctor cannot share information about patients, but you can share information with the physician.

Nonmedical prescription drug use has not changed much over the past few years, but opioids usage has increased. The expert staff at Towards Recovery understands the problems that come with opioid addiction and they are ready to help in any way possible. Our progressive counselling team will guide you through the first steps toward success. Contact us on 519-579-0589 if you have any questions.


Heroin Vaccine: It Could Be Coming Soon

Posted on :  December 31st, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

While we at Towards Recovery enjoy helping people with opioid addictions recover in a safe and supportive setting, we do look forward to the day when no one ever has to suffer from an addiction to a debilitating substance like heroin. That day could be closer than we think, now that researchers have released information about a preclinical vaccine that prevents opiates from getting to rodents’ brains.

Preclinical Vaccines for Opioid Addiction

A researcher from the University of Minnesota shared this vaccine with the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists at their annual conference in November 2014. Marco Praveloni, from the University of Minnesota called the preclinical vaccine 60XY-KLH. He revealed the vaccine could eventually help people who are addicted to opiates like heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. He also revealed that creating an anti-opioid vaccine is difficult, especially because the vaccine needs to work with both chemistry and immunology in the human body.

How the Vaccine Needs to Work

Since many people with addictions take different types of drugs, the vaccine needs to be able to versatile. The vaccine needs to work with, not against, methadone treatments. It also needs to help people manage the pain that comes with their opioid addiction, since the opioid receptors in the brain do affect pain in the body. Praveloni is hoping to find funding to keep working with the preclinical vaccine. You can read more about the vaccine here.

Changing the Way Addiction is Perceived

It is fascinating to think of a world where a simple vaccine can help people with addictions. Now we only think of vaccines as tools to prevent us from developing serious illnesses like diphtheria, polio, and whooping cough. With a vaccine that will help prevent addictions, the way that we view addictions could seriously change.

Current Injectable Treatments

There are already injectable treatments for addictive drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, and nicotine. These are not vaccines, but they do help fight addiction by getting the body to produce antibodies that fight the drug’s attempt to infiltrate the brain. When drugs are ingested, the molecules get into the brain and create the high by affecting the receptors in the brain. The injected treatments alter the molecules so they cannot create the high, thus voiding the typical behavior of the drug. The molecules attach to the antibodies so they are removed from the body before they can hit the brain.

Removing the Chance of Dangerous Overdoses

When antibodies work against the drug, the person taking the drug no longer has a chance to overdose. The body’s immune system is not overtaxed and brain chemistry remains the same. Respiratory failure is often the result of an overdose, but with the injected antibodies, this is no longer a worry. Researchers have seen the injected antibodies work on laboratory rats. They are first given a deadly dose of heroin after they have been injected with the antibodies. The rats show no signs of being high from the heroin.

Exciting News for Addicts

This exciting news will not only affect heroin addicts, but cocaine and nicotine addicts, too. Researchers have tested a cocaine antibody that has prevented the drug from reaching the brains of primates. Cigarette smokers have been asking for a vaccine, but researchers have not yet found one that works in humans.

How Vaccines Work

Even though addictions are different than diseases, the vaccines for both work in relatively the same way. Any vaccine relies on a protein or other molecule. When that protein or molecule enters the body, the vaccine goes to work. It notices the pathogen and attacks it. Long-term vaccines are capable of doing this several times, so the immune system can constantly win the war against pathogens. The only difference between vaccines for addictions and vaccines for diseases is that the addiction vaccines need to work on the brain because that is where addiction develops.

With all of the work that researchers are doing, we at Towards Recovery are hoping for another beneficial treatment for anyone who has been traumatized by the dangerous addiction to opioids. If you have any questions, contact Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042.


Methadone Myths & Facts and Its History

Posted on :  December 12th, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Methadone has been a useful treatment option for people with opioid addictions. The treatment has been used for many decades. Despite the long history of methadone in North America, people do not know much about the treatment and why it is effective. In many cases, family members and friends are not as supportive of the treatment as they could be.

Brief History of Methadone

Methadone was first given to patients by a doctor in New York at Rockefeller University. Dr. Vincent Dole discovered that his patients with heroin addiction no longer craved the drug after using methadone instead. The outcome of the methadone treatment was that patients could return to a normal lifestyle where they could go to work, be with their families, and be useful in the community. This discovery created licensed treatment programs that could directly help those who need help breaking their addictions to heroin.

Since methadone is always connected to heroin addiction, myths have perpetuated. These are the most common myths and the truth behind them:

#1: Methadone is just heroin in disguise. It is not heroin, it is a treatment for a heroin addiction. It is not even a substitute for heroin. People in methadone treatment need one dose each day and it is long acting. In contrast, heroin acts quickly, so addicts need to three or more doses per day to avoid painful withdrawal symptoms.

#2: Patients develop an addiction to methadone. There is a difference between an addiction and a dependence when it comes to medication. Methadone patients develop a dependency, much like diabetics develop a dependency on insulin or people with depression are dependent on anti-depressants. Dependencies are helpful, whereas addictions are harmful. Methadone is not harmful, so addiction does not occur.

#3: Methadone patients cannot go to work. As long as methadone patients are no longer using any illicit drugs, they can go to work at any job that they have qualifications to do. People who are taking methadone at the appropriate dose do not experience highs or lows; they simply feel normal which is the perfect condition for working at a job.

#4: Methadone has several harmful side effects. For five decades, methadone has been a safe medication. Fortunately, there are just a few side effects and they are easy to manage. Since methadone is an opioid, it can cause sweating and constipation. Methadone does not damage teeth or bones or any other part of the body. If patients taking methadone take care of themselves, no one will see any physical signs that they are taking the medication.

#5: Methadone and pregnancy do not mix. Methadone has been prescribed for pregnant women for decades. Studies have shown that pregnant women who taper off of methadone are more likely to have relapses with heroin. Babies born to mother taking methadone have not been found to have any developmental or cognitive problems. The only issue that can occur is called neonatal abstinence syndrome, but this can also occur with pregnant mothers who drink alcohol or take other drugs during pregnancy. There are treatment options for babies who have this problem. Methadone is also safe for breastfeeding, unless the mother also is HIV-positive.

#6: Methadone affects virility in men. Men who are taking methadone might have slightly lower testosterone levels, but it does not cause sterility or affect virility at all. Male methadone patients are just as potent as they were before they started to take methadone.

Myths about methadone often prevent people from seeking treatment. Unfortunately, embarrassment prevents them from talking to their health care providers, too. Instead of seeing methadone as a negative thing, patients should understand that they are doing something beneficial for themselves.

If you have any questions about methadone treatment, we encourage you to contact us on 519-579-0589, through our website at Towards Recovery Clinics or via email at: info@towardsrecovery.com.


Helpful Books to Read: Learn About Addiction and Recovery

Posted on :  December 9th, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Addiction and recovery are not just topics for hospitals, methadone clinics, and mental health facilities. In fact, the history of addiction and recovery have been documented in several fascinating books. These books have been well researched and they document the rise of drug abuse, addiction, and treatment in the United States and around the world. If you are interested in learning more about this very real problem in society today, take a look at a few of these titles:

Opiate Addiction – The Painkiller Addiction Epidemic, Heroin Addiction and the Way Out by Taite Adams. This book was recently updated in March of 2014. The book recognizes the epidemic that is opiate addiction in North America. It also recognizes the fact that recovery is difficult. Adams created a text that provides necessary information about the addiction as well as a real way to manage the fight to overcome the addiction. The book is highly recommended for people who are personally caught in the grips of addiction and for those who have loved ones who are trapped by opioids. Adams recognizes that knowledge is power when it comes to addictions to painkillers and opioids.

The Fix by Michael Massing. A paperback version of this book was published in 2001 and chronicles the 25 year battle on drugs led by American presidents in the 1970s and 1980s. The books is written in a journalistic style and promises to be illuminating and a bit frustrating, too. This is a vital addition to any book collection about drug addiction. It is full of actual history, interviews with addicts, and the role that politics took in the iconic “war on drugs” messages that dominated the end of the 20th century media.

The American Disease: Origins of Narcotic Control by David Musto. If you are considering enrolling in a course about the history of drug abuse in North America, this book will most likely be in the course syllabus. It may not be the most exciting read, but it shows how North America has moved through cycles about drugs and about government policies dating back to the 1860s. Once you finish this classic book, you will have a solid understanding of why addiction is such a problem today. The most recent version of the book was published in 1999.

Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud: Relapse and the Symptoms of Sobriety by Scott Stevens. Published in 2013, this book was a finalist from Next Generation Indie Books and USA Best Books Awards. While it does not address the problems with opioids, it does address the problems with alcohol addiction. It gets into the dirty underbelly of recovery and why relapse occurs with nearly 90% of alcoholics. The book is written for those who drink, those who do not drink, and those who know people who drink so that all parties involved in the cycles of recovery and relapse can understand what really happens.

The Narcotic Farm: The Rise and Fall of America’s First Prison for Drug Addicts by Nancy Campbell comes heavily recommended by those who want to learn more about drug abuse, recovery, and research. For 40 years, the Narcotic Farm was a real place where addicts went for rehabilitation. The Narcotic Farm was home to famous addicts as well as junkies who helped with the research conducted at the facility, that was shuttered in 1975. The book was released to support a PBS special about the Narcotic Farm, so it is full of photographs of first source documents, photographs, and actual stories from the prisoners who lived in the first federal prison designed just for drug addicts. The book was published in 2008, but sold very few copies.

If you have other suggested titles for addicts and their loved ones, let us know by contacting Towards Recovery Clinics on 519-579-0589.


Getting Back to Life after Addiction

Posted on :  December 4th, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Addiction is a constant battle. There is nothing pretty or easy about addiction and those who have been stuck in the ditch of addiction have had difficulty getting out of the mud and back onto the road of life. Instead of continuing to suffer and be an addict, there are severals ways to defeat addiction and get back into the real world of normality.

Challenging Recovery Options

Addiction to opioids is one of the most challenging addictions to fight. Fortunately, methadone or another opioid replacement therapy can help make the fight more successful for you. The first step is the hardest.

Once you take that first step of looking for help with methadone, the rest of your addiction recovery will be easier to manage. You will be able to reflect on your addiction and your life. You will also be able to assess your way of life and community. You will be able to look into creating a life of successes that are not connected to opioids. You will also be able to manage the feelings that recur as you fight the good fight.

Recovery Takes Time

People with any type of addiction should know that you cannot recover overnight. Steps to recovery occur bit by bit, one day at a time. You might not ever completely return to a sense of complete normalcy, but that is not the goal of recovery. You need to experience progress, but you will never experience perfection. You might even feel like you take a step forward one day, only to take a step back the next. This is the normalcy that patients recovering from addictions experience. If you can take joy in the little things, you will have a better experience with your personal journey of recovery.

Commit to the Journey and Take the First Step

Fighting an addiction requires taking the first step. Like a hero on a journey, you must cross the threshold into your new life free from addictive substances. You need to commit to the journey. Then you can begin to count the steps and recognize that no journey ends in 24 hours. You will gather friends and companions along the way. You will have tests and quests, too. Your journey will be exciting and adventurous, but it will also contain fear and danger. These tests are what will help you grow and heal.

Learning about Patience

You will need to develop some abilities and traits as you travel along your journey to recovery. The first trait is patience. People fighting addiction will notice that the world might move faster than you remember, so you should look into yourself and enjoy the world at your own pace. To do this, you will need patience through therapy, mindfulness, and other methods. Once you develop patience, you will not lose it.

Building a Sense of Purpose

You also will need to develop a sense of purpose. You need to commit to a person or a goal. Your first goal might be to avoid your addiction. You then might develop goals about your mental and physical health. When you have a purpose, you will enjoy waking up in the morning and going about your business. You might even decide that you want to have a purpose of being a good spouse, parent, child, student, employee, or friend. You might even decide your purpose is to help others with their recovery. But, you cannot gain the sense of purpose if you do not take that first step to get the help you need.

Contact Us for Help with Your Journey

If you are in the early stages of recovery, you might not have developed patience or established a purpose. Do not worry. The time for both will come. At Towards Recovery Clinic, we can help you with all of your opioid recovery needs. Our progressive counselling team will guide you through the first steps toward success. Contact us on 519-579-0589 if you have any questions.


Family Support for Methadone Treatment

Posted on :  December 1st, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

When a loved one is going through methadone treatment, family members are often confused what to do. At Towards Recovery Clinics, we understand that our patients need all of the support that they can get, from us and from their family and friends. Here are a few suggestions for family members to know about caring for their loved ones who are working on recovering from an addiction:

Learn about the benefits and risks of methadone treatment: In a world where too many myths are told about methadone, family members might be confused about why a clinic would provide this type of treatment. In order to fully understand why methadone has been prescribed as a treatment for heroin addiction, family members should research the truths about this groundbreaking treatment. Like all prescription treatments, methadone is not a perfect solution. Family members should also educate themselves on the pros and cons to the treatment, just in case there are setbacks during the program.

Find your own support: As a family member of an addict, you will need your own support group or therapy sessions. While your loved one moves through the stages of recovery, you will have emotions surface that you will want to share. You might know what to do with the emotions you feel, so a professional therapist or a well-run support group can help you remain mentally healthy. Your loved one will have a team of support and you should, too.

Provide encouragement to your loved one: Family members are the backbone of support for their loved ones who are battling addiction. Many of our patients find that they want to recover so they can be fully available for their loved ones. One of the best ways to keep your loved one involved in his methadone treatment is to provide ample encouragement to stay in the program. Your love and encouragement will mean more than you could ever know and could make the difference between success and failure.

Develop a set of rules and limitations at home: Your loved one will benefit from realistic rules and limits in the home. Give your loved one chores to do and create a schedule for meals and bedtimes. This might seem overly stringent, but your loved one will have an easier time assimilating to the environment and maintaining treatment when she knows what is coming and when. As your loved one continues through the program, talk about the schedule and what else she would like to do around the house. If you work with a support group, the members of the group will be able to give ideas for appropriate rules.

Get involved in the treatment procedures: When you get involved, you should reassure your loved one that you believe he will succeed. Whether you go along to appointments or you drive your loved one to our clinics, your support is vital to your loved one’s success. Show you care by asking questions about the program and asking what you can do to help.

Do what you love to do: Your lifestyle should not change much based on the treatment your loved one is receiving. If you love to go to yoga class, keep going to yoga. Continue to follow your passions or you will begin to feel negative emotions toward your loved one. You need to stay healthy to support your loved one, so stay involved in what you truly enjoy.

Practice patience: Methadone treatment programs require a significant amount of patience. Building your patience will not only help when you are caring for your loved one, but it will be a valuable tool through the rest of your life. There will be setbacks in the treatment program and your patience will make those setbacks easier to manage.

If you have any questions about your role as a support person for your loved one and live in or around Hamilton, St. Catharines, or Brantford, Ontario, please contact us at Towards Recovery Clinics on 519-579-0589 to locate your nearest clinic.


Avoid Addictions: Keep Your Family Safe

Posted on :  November 28th, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Opioid addiction is a serious problem for people of all ages, cultures, and socio-economic groups. If you or a loved one is caught in the trap of addiction, you know the feelings of helplessness and fear that come with the problem. Fortunately, there are things that we can all do to reduce addictions in our homes, schools, communities, and workplaces.

Help Your Children Avoid Addictions

Talk to your children about drugs. Parents are the medium for sending an anti-drug or pro-drug message. Children will watch what you do and they listen to what you say. So, if you use drugs or alcohol around them or with them, they will notice and remember. Even if you do not use drugs or alcohol now, you should not tell fun stories about your previous usage. Tell your children what drugs do to people and why your children should avoid drugs.

Do not support underage drinking. Too many children drink too much alcohol. If you think you are a cool parent by providing alcohol for your teens and their friends, you are grossly mistaken. There are legal drinking ages for a reason, because young brains are more susceptible to addiction and because young minds do not need the problems that are associated with drinking alcohol. The longer you can postpone the time of your child’s first alcoholic beverage, the more likely your child will not develop an addiction.

Get to know your children’s friends. If your children’s friends use drugs, they will use them around your children. Peer pressure is difficult to fight, even for the toughest of children. Research shows that the younger the child is when she tries drugs, the more likely she is to develop an addiction. Knowledge really is power, so get to know your children’s friends and their families, too.

Take Care of Yourself

Get help for your own addiction. There is no reason to be ashamed of an addiction. The science behind it is too difficult to fight. Without help, your addiction will only get worse and you will continue to hurt yourself and others around you. Doctors and therapists are available to help you at all hours of the day and night. All you need to do is tell your doctor you need help. You can also contact our treatment centers at 905-527-2042 for immediate assistance. It does not matter if you have an opioid addiction or other drug addiction, we will provide the assistance you need.

Remove temptations. If you know you or your family members are prone to addiction, it is best to keep temptations out of the house. This means that you should keep unused medications out of your home, especially prescription medications like pain pills, sedatives, and sleeping pills. Many addicts will get their fixes from the medications that are sitting around the house. Pay attention to the community events that encourage people to bring unused medications to a location for safe disposal. The idea of “out of sight – out of mind” works well with addictive substances.

Avoid self-medication. If you are suffering from any emotional pain, you might be tempted to take a sleeping pill or have a few drinks to relax your mind. This is the first step towards addiction. If you feel like you need to self-medicate, you should instead look to therapy instead. In many cases, a few appointments with a licensed therapist will help you manage your emotional pain.

Help your Family

Keep your medication for yourself. When you are given a prescription, it is for you alone. It is illegal in Canada to share prescription medications with anyone. It is also illegal to sell your prescriptions to other people, too. If you have a prescription for a medication that has addictive properties, it is wise to lock up the medication so no one has access to it.

Look for signs of addiction. You know your family the best; so if you are worried that a family member might have an addiction, call your family doctor for support. Keep track of your loved one’s behavior to ensure the best care.

If you have any questions about protection your children, yourself, and your community, contact Toward Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042.


Understanding Cravings During Recovery

Posted on :  November 4th, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Cravings during recovery are often a frightening prospect for those seeking to end their dependence on drugs and alcohol. However, cravings are a natural and normal part of the recovery process. Just because an individual is experiencing them does not mean a relapse is likely to occur. Understanding a little bit about cravings is the first step to dealing with them.

What are cravings?

Cravings are defined as overwhelming and persistent desires to use substances. The definition itself seems relatively simple, but as anyone who has experienced cravings can tell you, they can be a living nightmare.

Cravings are both physical and emotional. There is a physical dependence on the substance, so naturally the body craves it when it is no longer available. This withdrawal can result in physical manifestations such as heart palpitations, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, sweating and muscle tension. As for the emotional issues, moods can fluctuate, leading to feelings of restlessness, anxiety and depression.

One of the main issues with cravings is the thoughts and behaviours that occur during those urges. The accompanying thoughts and behaviours are what lead to a “cycle of addiction.” Among the most common thoughts are:

  • “I can’t deal without it.”
  • “I have to have it.”
  • “I need to find it.”

Those specific thoughts, if left unchecked, can lead to detrimental behaviours such as:

  • Hiding small bottles of alcohol
  • Soliciting for drugs
  • Stealing other people’s prescription medications
  • Using sex for drugs

Important things to understand

Although cravings seem daunting, they can be managed and overcome. There are a few things to understand, however.

Cravings are fleeting. It’s important to know that cravings don’t last forever. When they hit, they can last anywhere from three to five minutes or longer depending on one’s focus. Unfortunately, the longer one dwells on the craving, the longer it will last. The key is to engage the mind in some other activity so as not to focus on the cravings. Participating in a mentally engaging activity like reading, game playing or even physical exercise can help dispel the urges.

Cravings are normal. Cravings are a natural occurrence after substance abuse ceases. They are to be expected and shouldn’t be considered a sign of weakness. Cravings do not mean that recovery efforts are unsuccessful. Quite the contrary, cravings mean things are progressing.

Cravings are tougher at the beginning. For most people going through recovery, the beginning phase is the most difficult. They experience the most intense and frequent cravings as they start a program. It’s important to know that cravings will become less intense as time goes by.

Cravings don’t equal relapse. Just because cravings occur, doesn’t mean a relapse will occur. Cravings are desires and nothing more. That doesn’t mean one has to give in to them. Undoubtedly, it is a struggle, but it can be overcome.

Cravings vs. triggers

While in recovery, many people confuse cravings with triggers. Although the two go together, they are quite different. Triggers are either mental or emotional situations that can lead to a craving. An argument with a spouse, for example, can act as a trigger, prompting the individual to crave drugs or alcohol. Even memories or significant dates can act as triggers. Wistfulness over the past or dealing with certain holidays can also spark cravings. Cravings, however, can occur even without a trigger. They can simply happen out of the blue for no reason at all.

Understanding cravings can help take away some of the fear surrounding them, but nothing compares to having adequate support and treatment to help deal with them. Participating in a recovery program can help address some of the specific issues involved with cravings so that they don’t seem so overwhelming. After all, cravings are just part of the journey to recovery.

If you’d like to learn more about dealing with cravings during recovery, and live in or around Hamilton, St. Catharines, or Brantford, Ontario, you can make the first step by contacting Towards Recovery on 519-579-0589 to locate your nearest clinic and kick start your journey.

Make sure you have an unexpired OHIP card or call 1-866-532-3161 to find out how to get one.

Towards Recovery Clinics Inc. (TRC) is an Ontario addiction treatment centre with the philosophy to help individuals take control of their addiction and help them rebuild their lives and careers.




Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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