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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Archive for May, 2014

You Are Only As Good As The Company You Keep – Regaining Stability In Treatment

Posted on: May 22nd, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The process of recovering from drug or alcohol addiction can be a challenging one, and the reality is that addiction is a disease that lasts a lifetime. Those who suffer from addiction are never cured. They must spend their entire lives working to maintain the sobriety that they worked so hard for in treatment. Treatment is an important step for many addicts because it offers reprieve from the outside world, which may be full of triggers, including people, who tempt an addict to use.

Once an addict leaves their treatment program, however, they must take the necessary steps to ensure that they are surrounded by people who support and do not pose a threat to their sobriety. This will help ensure that an addict may remain safe and sober for the rest of their lives. 

Alcohol Use Is Contagious

Many studies have pointed out that when it comes to binge drinking, people tend to drink more when they are around other heavy drinkers. Just the presence of one heavy drinker in a group of friends can greatly increase the amount of alcohol that is consumed by everyone present. This often happens without anyone who is drinking being fully aware of the degree to which they are being influenced by the drinking habits of those round them. This is one reason that it can be particularly harmful for a recovering addict to socialize with individuals who continue to drink heavily. They may be putting themselves at a much greater risk for impact. 

Toxic Influences

A person does not even have to use heavily to be a trigger for an individual who is recovering from addiction. Most people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol use because of emotional triggers that drive them to want to use. Common emotional triggers include sadness, anger, shame, or low self worth. This may be because unpleasant emotions lead an individual to want to dull the pain with a substance. People who behave in a way that leads an addict to feel anger, sadness, or anxiety are a dangerous influence on an addict.

This may especially be the case for individuals who also have problems with substance abuse. When a person who incites unpleasant emotions also uses in front of a recovering addict, they may put an addict at a strong risk for using. Most addiction counselors recommend that recovering addicts avoid contacts with individuals who are emotionally, verbally, or physically abusive. 

Discouraging Attitudes

Recovering from addiction is a difficult process and, like any obstacle, it is made much easier when an addict is surrounded by people who express their love for them and their faith in their ability to succeed. Regularly hearing encouraging words and thoughts can provide inspiration in difficult moments and can be a wonderful incentive for addicts to keep working their twelve step programs. Conversely, people who express discouraging thoughts or who make disparaging or mean remarks to an addict can pose a threat to an addict’s recovery. Many people who struggle with addiction also struggle with low self image.

Often, feelings of low self esteem can be triggers in and of themselves. For this reason, recovering addicts are strongly encouraged to seek out the company of those who believe in them and who believe in themselves, and to avoid individuals who bring about only harm and insulting behavior. Recovery is a challenging process, but by surrounding oneself with the right people,  a recovering addict can continue to cultivate the tools necessary to continuing to grow as a strong and capable person. Part of life after treatment is knowing which people to remain in contact with and which people to avoid.


Treatment Over Jail Time: A New Trend For Drug Courts

Posted on: May 19th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

 Treatment Over Jail Time: A New Trend For Drug CourtsAs public perception and of addiction continues to shift toward viewing drug and alcohol addiction as a disease rather than a moral weakness, many addiction treatment specialists have begun to argue that the way in which individuals who are charged with crimes related to drug use and possession should be treated as people with medical problems more so than criminals who should be punished.

This shift in thought and policy has given way to more drug courts choosing to order treatment for individuals convicted of drug use crimes rather than sentencing them to jail time. Many people involved in both the law enforcement fields and addiction treatment fields have been quite curious as to whether ordering treatment over jail time truly has an impact on lowering instances of illegal drug use. 

Promising Results

A number of studies have yielded quite promising results when it comes to the effectiveness of these so-called drug courts. One study, which looked at results from 32 different drug court programs found that they did in fact have a significant impact in lowering instances of repeat arrests by drug users. The study found that in the programs that were assessed, 32% less drug users returned for repeat offenses after undergoing mandated treatment than returned after serving jail time for crimes related to drug use and possession. 

Room For Improvement

While some studies involving drug courts have shown that there is a markedly lower instance of rearrests in areas where drug courts are used as an alternative to jail time, there are many areas where mandated drug programs have not yielded significantly lower rates of rearrest. The reason for this is somewhat unclear.

Drug courts are programs that have become common practice fairly recently, and it remains to be seen exactly what type of treatment programs will be most effective for drug offenders who have found their way into the criminal justice system.

Some argue that while the idea of drug courts are well intended, the reality remains that in order for a treatment program to be tilt effective, an addict must make the choice themselves to begin the steps of recovery. Mandated treatment may, because of it’s very nature prove somewhat ineffective. That said, when faced with the possibility of jail time, many addicts may realize the severity of their problem and be in a position to take seriously the tools being handed to them by a drug court system. 

Drug Courts and General Attitudes About Drugs

While the exact process of mandated treatment remains yet to be fully hammered out, most addiction treatment professionals agree that the wide adoption of drug court programs represents an important change in the way that society as a whole views drug addiction. As addiction continues to be viewed as more of a disease than a moral weakness, the number of deaths related to drug use seem to go down. Recognizing that addiction is a disease that virtually anyone of any age, gender, or background can suffer from allows a type of thinking that is focused on reducing the number of deaths related to drug overdose.

Many programs that have been shown to cut down on overdose deaths are somewhat new and place an emphasis on treatment over punishment. One such policy involves access to Naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose and may help buy an addict who is at risk for overdose death enough time to get safely to a hospital emergency room. Advances like these may begin to truly change the landscape of addiction management and the way in which treatment is administered. 

Russell Brand Defies The Stigma Of Addiction

Posted on: May 15th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

 Russell Brand Defies The Stigma Of Addiction

Comedian Russell Brand is known for his stand up comedy as well as his memorable roles in films like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him To The Greek. The popular actor is also known, however, for his outspoken position defying the stigma of addiction and speaking out for the need for programs that help recovering addicts find the help they need to find health, peace, and happiness. 

Brand and the Stigma of Celebrity Addiction

In the wake of the death of beloved actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Brand spoke out about the nature of addiction and the way in which celebrities are often stigmatized for their struggles with addiction, rather than viewed as individuals who are suffering from serious diseases. He expressed the opinion that “We are a culture that does not know how to treat its addicts,” and wondered, “Would Hoffman have died if this disease were not so enmeshed in stigma?

If we weren’t invited to believe that people who suffer from addiction deserve to suffer? Would he have OD’d if drugs were regulated, controlled and professionally administered?” This opinion, which some may find incendiary, is reflective of the view of many that addiction is a disease that should be treated exactly the same way that any other life threatening disease is: with aggressive care and under the watch of a doctor who could pay close attention to the specific and urgent needs of an addict.

The idea of regulating drug use and administration is somewhat controversial to many, but also somewhat reflects what is already the standard practice for many doctors of patients with addictions, who may prescribe a drug like methadone to help ease a heroin addict off of the opiate’s more dangerous form. 

Brand’s Own Struggle With Chemical Dependency

It is not surprising that the actor is so publicly supportive of addiction issues. Brand has been very vocal about his own struggles with the disease and even made a documentary about his own struggle entitled Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery, which is a very personal look into the actor’s struggle to get sober. The documentary places and emphasis on the tough work required to find recovery.

The documentary also offers another place for Brand to express his strong view that addiction is a serious disease that should not be stigmatized and that there is still much work to be done in the realm of public opinion to help change the way that addicts are viewed. Brand believes that changing the way addiction is viewed is a monumental step that must be taken in order to help encourage people to seek the help they need. 

Dealing With Addiction Stigma

One way in which addiction stigma can certainly be lessened seems to be the way in which celebrities with addiction issues are treated in the media. Often, public figures with addiction issues are mocked by the media or treated as though they are at fault for their addiction. This creates a dangerous culture in which the pubic perception remains that addiction is not a disease but a display of weakness or a lapse in judgement. This can be particularly dangerous for a number of reasons.

It may have the effect of addicts themselves not feeling that they can or should get better or that if they are not able to stop using it is because it is their fault and not because they are sick. This attitude may also play a huge role in public policy, and cause the laws surrounding addiction to focus on punishing and reprimanding addicts rather than finding ways to prevent deaths. 

5 Theraputic Activities To Do In Recovery

Posted on: May 12th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Recovery is a transformative time for any recovering addict or alcoholic. Making the shift from using to finding a new life in health and sobriety means making major changes to not only one’s actions but their way of thinking, including the way in which an addict views themselves. Addiction and Alcoholism are diseases that can be treated, but are often misunderstood in modern culture. While this time of change is a very positive time in a recovering addict’s life, it also comes with many challenges and obstacles for those who are trying to get honest with themselves for the first time in a long time.

Here Are Five Therapeutic Activities That Can Make Recovery As Effective And Reflective A Time As Possible:


Meditation is a very useful and effective tool for recovering addicts. The process of meditation allows recovering addicts to begin to recognize their thoughts and impulses as they arise and to begin to recognize the fact that they do in fact have control over whether they act on these impulses. Meditation also helps cultivate a general sense of quiet and calm in the mind. When a person begins to meditate, they start to find some peace and solace from the many thoughts and emotions that may constantly be swirling around a person’s mind at any one time, especially during a time as transformative as early recovery.


Yoga has many health benefits that are often used outside of recovery in order to provide balance and strength. It combines two therapeutic activities that are highly productive during recovery: mediation and exercise. In yoga classes, students are encouraged to focus on their breath and to reach a meditative place that allows them to stay present and mindful of the sensations they are currently feeling in their bodies. Yoga also helps encourage strength, flexibility, and balance of both the body and the mind. Engaging in an activity that teaches physical balance can have a real impact on the body’s ability to achieve mental balance as well.


Journaling is an excellent therapeutic activity because many people find that they express themselves better through writing than they do verbally or even mentally to themselves. Journaling allows a recovering addict to reflect on thoughts and emotions, which can seem much more manageable and easier to sort through when they are written out on paper. Journaling also encourages a recovering addict to remain mindful of their emotions and to think through them with purpose and resolve. Journaling can also be a great tool for goal setting in recovery, as it has been found that goals that are written out are far more likely to be accomplished.

Group Therapy and Twelve Step Programs

One of the best resources that recovering addicts have at their disposal is the support of other recovering addicts. Attending twelve step meetings helps many common struggles seem more surmountable, as other recovering addicts who are further along in the recovery process may be able to offer some insight or some hope to an addict going through a similar problem. Group therapy and twelve step programs can help addicts feel less isolated, which can help ease feelings of loneliness and depression. The support of fellow recovering addicts can also be a wonderful way to stay motivated to continue to work toward health and sobriety.

Equine Therapy

Equestrian therapy is used to treat a number of disorders, many of which occur when a person is struggling to treat themselves well. Many people recovering from eating disorders may benefit from equestrian therapy, for example. Equestrian therapy can also be highly effective for recovering addicts. Learning to care for a horse can help instill a desire to treat oneself healthfully and riding horses is a great exercise in feeling present and for taking life moment by moment. Other types of animal therapy may also be very beneficial for those making their way through the process of recovery.


Doctors Wary Of New Opioid

Posted on: May 8th, 2014 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Doctors, mental health care providers, addiction recovery specialists, and pharmacists alike are all quite concerned about a newly approved drug called Zohydro, which many experts believe may quickly be acknowledged as one of the most dangerous and addictive prescription drugs available on the market. As prescription drug addiction and use continues to be one of the fastest growing epidemics in the medical field, many experts wonder why the drug was ever approved at all and what steps will be taken to ensure that it will be used as cautiously and with as many safeguards as possible. 

What is Zohydro?

Zohydro is a prescription painkiller that is opiate based. It is hydrocodone, which is the drug that is also used to make the commonly prescribed drug Viccodin. What separates Zohydro from prescription pain killers currently on the market is the fact that it contains a much higher dose of hydrocodone and that it is manufactured in an extended release formula. These two features make the pill much more dangerous because it may be even easier for users to become addicted to the drug. Other forms of hydrocodone, which have long been on the market have already been identified as drugs which a patient may very rapidly develop a dependency and a tolerance for. 

The Rapidly Growing Problem of Prescription Drug Addiction

The decision to approve Zohydro surprised many drug and alcohol addiction specialists for many reasons, not least of which are the long list of dangers associated with Zohydro specifically. Prescription drug use and addiction has rapidly become one of the most common causes of death in the United States, and overdoses related to prescription drug use out number overdoses of almost any other drug.

In light of this serious and growing problem, law enforcement and health officials have clamored for increased regulations designed to help stem the tide of deaths associated with the drugs. Some legislation that has been approved includes measures that increase training for doctors and pharmacists who may prescribe or dispense dangerous drugs like opiates.

Doctors are encouraged to look for signs of chemical dependency in their patients, and many communities have set up safe disposal programs so that individuals with excess opiates that have been prescribed to them may safely get rid of extra pills without worrying about them falling into the hands of a person who may abuse the drugs.

Prescription drug addiction may be one of the fastest growing diseases in America because, unlike many other dangerous drugs, a person may become exposed to them in some way other than recreationally. In fact, many people who are addicted to opiates are originally exposed to them because of a legitimate medical need. 

The Fight to Stop Zohydro From being Approved

Zohydro’s entry into the market place comes after many health officials and members of law enforcement and recovery communities strongly encouraged the FDA to block the approval of the drug. The new form of the drug contains as much as ten times the amount of hydrocodone as a drug like Viccodin. This may mean that individuals who are currently dependent on opiates may be at an even higher risk for fatal overdose. Many activists continue to be against the use of the drug and are pushing for further investigation into the drug that may only serve to worsen what is considered by many a rampant drug addiction epidemic. To date, however, the drug is on the market, and has been approved for use of severe pain management. The makers of the drug argue that it is an effective way of managing pain that lasts all day and night.