Gooden Center
A residential drug treatment center for men located in Pasadena, CA. The Gooden Center is a proud member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP).

(626) 356-0078
191 North El Molino Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101 US

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Attending an AA Meeting on Vacation

Posted on: July 20th, 2017 by emarketed No Comments

Attending an AA Meeting on Vacation

While you are planning a long vacation it can be stressful to worry about how you will cope with the experience and still stay sober. Vacations are meant to be relaxing and a way to get away from your problems but unfortunately you are also away from the comforts of home and your usual routine. This can be difficult for people in recovery who are used to having certain resources available and a structure to their life that helps keep them sober.

The great thing about 12 step meetings though is that they really are available everywhere. You may have already had people in your local meetings who were visiting on vacation from different parts of the country. It is pretty common for people to find an AA meeting wherever they are so that they can keep in touch with their sobriety goals even while traveling.

Anytime you are going on a significant trip, or even a short getaway, you might consider looking into what types of AA meetings are available in the area. Being prepared and knowing you can go to a meeting beforehand can ease some of the stress of traveling.

Connecting with New People

The more you travel and find different AA groups the more connected you will feel with the sober community all around the country and even around the world. AA is even available on many cruise ships, so really almost any vacation can include a meeting or two if you really need it.

It may feel intimidating to have to start over with a group of people you have never met. You might have a special bond and rapport with the people in your local AA group and feel hesitant to try something new. But as you have probably experienced in your own AA group, twelve step meetings are always welcoming and offer support to anyone new to the group.

It can be very rewarding to open up to a new group of people in an entirely new city. It can even help you realize just how universal addiction and the process of quitting really is for everyone. No matter where you go, every AA group will understand what you each person is experiencing and be able to provide empathy.

Triggers During a Vacation

Almost every occasion for traveling can include some type of trigger that will make it hard to stay committed to your goals. Your resort might offer free drinks or classes like wine tasting. They might even unknowingly hand you a glass of champagne when you arrive to check in. These types of situations come up all the time and it is important to be prepared for them.

Being away from home can make it harder to handle the obstacles that come up during vacation. Going to at least one meeting or even attending them every day might be the best way to get through your vacation without struggling too much.

It is important to communicate about your sobriety to whomever you are traveling with. If you are on a trip with a big group of friends or more distant family members they may not be familiar with your situation.

To avoid any confusion or pressure tell them about your recovery and your need to attend meetings. Let them know that you might have to miss out on certain excursions or activities so that you can spend time at a meeting. You might feel bad about being on a different schedule but your sobriety should be the highest priority throughout your vacation.

How to Find Meetings

As soon as you know where your hotel is located you should start looking into meetings that are close by. You can search the AA directory on www.aa.org and type in the name of the city or zip code which will direct you to the websites of local AA resources. There are also several apps you can download to your smartphone such as the Twelve Steps companion app that includes a directory and a map function to help you get directions to a meeting.

You should try to find a meeting as close as possible to your hotel so that there will not be too many issues as far as transportation. Something within walking distance, a bus ride or quick taxi ride is the best option. Make sure that you are completely prepared by finding exactly where the meeting is and knowing how you will get there before you even leave for your vacation.

Even though looking for a meeting and talking to a new group of people may seem like it’s out of your comfort zone, most people find it extremely helpful while traveling. Discussing your vacation stresses and fears with the group will help you stay strong no matter what type of triggers you experience on your trip.

Reawakening the Senses in Recovery

Posted on: June 30th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Reawakening the Senses in Recovery

Regular substance use, no matter what kind, suppresses emotions and interferes with people’s ability to experience what is happening around them. Take a look at the physical implications of prolonged use and learn how to reawaken the senses once the substances leave the body.

Addiction and the Brain

The brain is the hub of all our activities. It regulates the body’s physical functions and is responsible for our thoughts, behaviors and responses to our environment. We need it to walk, talk, think, create and feel.

Drugs affect different parts of the brain by inhibiting its ability to communicate vital information. One area of the brain that is affected is the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for seeing, feeling, hearing and tasting. It is also essential for thinking, planning and making decisions.

Another area is the limbic system, which regulates the ability to feel pleasure and perceive other emotions. Many drugs cause neurons to release abnormally large quantities of dopamine and other pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters. They also disrupt the brain’s ability to regulate these neurotransmitters naturally and lead to a “crash” once the substance leaves the system.

Emotional Tolerance

The beginning stage of recovery is often likened to an “emotional roller coaster” because mood swings are common; however, remaining abstinent and working a program of recovery affords a person the ability to experience and appreciate life’s natural course. Developing coping skills and a support network should be a priority in order to tolerate stressful situations.

It is also important to participate in activities that lead to pleasure and fulfillment. Get together with a group of people who know how to have fun without using substances. Find activities that you enjoy, and pursue them.

Mindfulness

One powerful method of using the senses is to practice mindfulness, which is the active process of bringing attention to what is presently happening, both externally and internally. It involves being aware of your surroundings, thoughts and feelings. Try to do so without judging them in order to fully experience the moment.

For example, if you are out in nature, listen for birds chirping or the sound of a stream flowing nearby. Look at colors and shapes. If there is a breeze, focus on how it feels on your skin. Pick up a stone or touch the bark of a tree, paying attention to the texture. Notice your internal reactions to what is around you. Maybe you are feeling peaceful, or perhaps you are nervous about running into an animal.

During meals, pay attention to the aroma of your food. Take time to taste each bite. Is the food sour, sweet, salty or spicy? Observe the texture before you chew.

Early recovery can be overwhelming, and learning how to tolerate feelings should be a priority. It is then time to use the skills you have learned to find pleasure throughout your recovery. Make an effort to pay attention to everyday activities and look for new opportunities to find fulfillment.

Millennials and Adderall

Posted on: June 27th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Millennials and Adderall

In recent years, Adderall has become the drug of choice for people in college and many millennials have even taken their college habit with them into the workplace. Young people struggling to keep their grades up while attending a university often turn to this medication because it is designed to enhance focus for people with legitimate issues of ADHD. For those without any illness, they feel that Adderall abuse helps them stay up long nights to study while increasing their concentration and alertness. It is so popular on college campuses that researchers have found a recent uptick in the number of young adults going to emergency rooms for Adderall-related reasons. They also found that 60 percent of non-medical use of Adderall took place among people aged 18-25.

Prescription Stimulants in the Workplace

Although young adults find that the medication helps them through college, many millennials have developed a habit that is hard to break. Even after completing their education and entering the workplace, millennials and Adderall continue to be linked because they feel it improves their performance and is a driving factor in their success.

Recently, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has found that more workplace drug tests have been coming back positive and they are expected to continue increasing to higher rates than they have been in decades. The second most common drugs detected in these tests after marijuana were amphetamines like Adderall and Ritalin. This type of prescription drug use is more common in workplaces that are dominated by people in their 20s such as millennial-run tech companies. Drugs like Adderall are highly addictive and when people view them as the secret to their success, it can be difficult to continue working long hours in a stressful environment without their usual chemical enhancement.

Dangers of Adderall Abuse

In spite of its ability to enhance focus, Adderall can also have a number of unpleasant side effects including insomnia, increased blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, appetite suppression, headaches and anxiety. Excessive use of the drug can also cause symptoms like hallucinations, delusions and psychosis. Users of Adderall often end up in the emergency room because they experience panic attacks from taking too much.

Instances of suicide as a result of stimulant addiction has increased substantially in recent years. Because of the increase in abuse, more people than ever are now entering drug rehab specifically for the treatment of Adderall addiction. It can be difficult for people to return to the workplace after quitting the drug but ultimately getting treatment will improve their health and prevent complications caused by stimulant abuse.

Alcoholism and Masculinity

Posted on: June 24th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Alcoholism and Masculinity

Alcoholism and Masculinity

Historically, alcohol abuse has always been more prevalent among males than females although recent statistics have been slightly shifting. Overall, men tend to become addicted to alcohol more often than women and they tend to binge drink in greater amounts. There is an intricate relationship between alcohol and masculinity as many men feel they must drink alcohol and large amounts of it to prove their manhood or affirm that they are masculine.

Social drinking has traditionally for many years been a cultural symbol of manliness which is often strengthened by media portrayals of alcohol and men. Some theories express that men with alcohol dependencies actually have the most fragile masculine identities that they are attempting to boost by heavy binge drinking.

Male Culture and Social Drinking

Studies show that men not only consume more alcohol but they also have higher frequencies of intoxication and are more likely to form a dependency than women. Certain male subculture and environments tend to encourage excessive drinking such as Greek fraternities which support the notion that alcohol is a rite of passage for men.

Men who are able to drink large amounts of alcohol without much of a physical reaction are considered more manly than those who become sick or cannot handle their booze. Alcohol abuse and a high tolerance then becomes a way to prove masculinity in many male social circles. Research has shown that men who adhere to many of these kinds of masculine norms are actually more vulnerable to peer pressure and are insecure about proving themselves.

Masculinity and the need to adhere to masculine norms can be harmful in a number of different ways. Men who try to conform to strict male codes often experience heightened psychological strain and burden that can exacerbate their alcohol abuse. Drinking alcohol then, serves as a method of both proving their masculinity and an emotional escape from the strain of adhering to these types of male norms. The male norms and codes then appear to be closely linked to alcohol abuse among many men who struggle with their own masculinity.

Men who value other qualities such as self reliance and control may be better equipped to minimize their drinking behavior. On the other hand, men who focus more on physical strength and ability to handle substances will be more likely to test their limits and consume more alcohol than others. In many cases, these are the men who develop dependencies and struggle the most with addiction.

The Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab Treatment

Posted on: June 20th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab Treatment

You may be thinking about rehab treatment for yourself or a loved one. One of the first questions may be what is the difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment? The following is a guide to the general differences between inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Inpatient Treatment Programs

Inpatient or residential treatment is an intensive program for the treatment of drug or alcohol dependency. It requires the individual to live full-time at the treatment facility, typically for 30-90 days, but can be longer depending on the severity of the addiction or other underlying conditions. This physically removes the individual from the triggers that are found in the outside world in order to stabilize. Residential treatment is a good choice for someone who has previously been unsuccessful in overcoming his or her addiction or has relapsed.

Residential treatment is also a better option for those who require a medical detoxification due to the powerful physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with some addictions, requiring the oversight of medical professionals. If the patient has a co-occurring mental disorder, other addiction, or additional health issues, he or she is likely best managed in an inpatient facility.

An inpatient facility provides a highly structured environment, which includes regular meetings, counseling, therapy, mealtimes, and other activities. A patient will find substantial support by living in a therapeutic community with other residents facing the same struggles. Residential treatment provides a healthy environment, mostly free from outside distractions that otherwise could prevent the patient from focusing on his or her total well-being, including physical and spiritual health in addition to addiction recovery.

Inpatient programs tend to have a higher rate of success due to being isolated in a controlled, safe and secure environment away from the temptations and triggers that led to addiction in the first place. In this way, the patient gets to practice sobriety and become accustomed to abstinence without the negative distracting influences that kept him or her in addiction before he or she goes back to the stressors of everyday life.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient treatment is ideal for the individual who has obligations like work, school, or family that prevent him or her from taking a substantial time off away from such responsibilities. Some people also prefer privacy and anonymity regarding their addiction and do not wish to explain a prolonged absence to an employer or others.

An outpatient facility allows you to attend to your obligations while simultaneously focusing on treatment either during the day or in the evening. It provides individual and group counseling as well.. Peer recovery and support is also a significant component due to the limited safeguards and the availability of some of the same triggers and temptations that may be available by remaining in the community.

Other benefits of outpatient treatment include the availability of supportive family and friends and the opportunity to immediately apply strategies for abstinence learned in rehab to one’s daily life. Outpatient treatment may also cost less due there being no expense required for room and board.

Special care must be taken with outpatient treatment to prevent relapse, however. If the patient is in an environment in which he or she is exposed to drugs or alcohol, the individual will be at a much higher risk of relapse.

Which is best for you?

If you want to know more specifically what the differences are in programs at a particular facility, call to get more details. A qualified professional can arrange an assessment to determine the best course of treatment for you or your loved one.

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