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


Archive for the ‘Addiction Awareness’ Category

Attending An AA Meeting On Vacation

Posted on: July 20th, 2017 by The Gooden Center 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 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.

Top Netflix Movies/TV Shows About Addiction

Posted on: June 11th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Top Netflix Movies/TV Shows About Addiction

There is more content than ever in the media that deals realistically with issues of addiction and depicts the struggles of recovery, relapse and the sometimes harrowing experiences of substance abuse. Netflix offers some hard-hitting dramas, documentaries and even comedies that discuss addiction and include characters that are relatable protagonists who are vulnerable to their own relationship to alcohol or drugs. The most effective stories of addiction in the media can show both the redemption of recovery and the dangers of falling into the pattern of abuse. These are some of the best movies and TV shows available on Netflix that deal with addiction.

Heaven Knows What

Ben and Joshua Safdie directed this dark drama centered around junkies surviving on the streets of New York City. This is a remarkable film in that it stars a real life former heroin addict discovered by the directors and many of her own experiences were used as inspiration for the story including her relationship with her boyfriend Ilya who died of an overdose in Central Park. Although at times painful to watch because of the subject matter, the gritty realism makes this a memorable depiction of addiction.

White Girl

This movie follows the story of a young college student who becomes entangled in substance abuse and the NY drug world after falling in love with a cocaine dealer. Cocaine begins to take over her life as she descends deeper into addiction and struggles to make enough money selling drugs to get her boyfriend out of jail. The film also takes a hard look at issues of race and privilege that can dictate who experiences more repercussions for using and selling drugs.


Will Arnett co-created, wrote and directed this Netflix comedy/drama series which largely draws on his own experiences with alcoholism and divorce while living in Venice, CA. The show depicts the main characters regularly attending AA meetings throughout the series and coping with their sometimes tenuous relationship with sobriety. Arnett maintains some mystery about the main character’s past which draws you into his story and struggles with alcohol.

Too Young to Die

This documentary series focuses on the stories of beloved celebrities whose lives were cut short, many of them due to addiction and overdose. Episodes of the series discuss stars like Kurt Cobain, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Belushi and Heath Ledger who were all unable to escape their drug abuse until it eventually turned fatal.

Dealing with Failure in Recovery

Posted on: May 15th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Dealing with Failure in Recovery

Failure of anything is a difficult feeling to overcome. During early recovery, it can be even more difficult to face failure, especially when it comes in the form of a relapse.

For many people, this failure becomes more than just a small bump in the road to recovery; it becomes an insurmountable obstacle. Failure does not have to damage the work you put into recovery. Knowing how to deal with failure and respond in a healthy manner can help you remain strong.

Recognize that Failure is Not Always Bad

Too often, people only look at the negative qualities of failure. They become so afraid of failing that they will not even try something because they believe they will fail. However, by overcoming this fear of failure, you can have the strength to try. Often, one must fail in order to finally succeed, and it might even take several failures to find the right path. Instead of focusing on failure as something dreadful, see it as a normal part of life. Sometimes people fail and other times they succeed, and it is not always completely up to a person as to which of the two happens.

Learn from Failure

Failure can be a positive thing, especially if you take the time to learn from it. Instead of wallowing in the fact that you failed, take the time to consider what you did wrong and learn from your mistakes. Maybe you were introduced to a trigger too early or something else happened that you can change the next time. Instead of focusing on the bad, look at how you can learn from it. This means that you should not deny that you made mistakes or failed. Instead, own up to the fact that you failed and use it as a way to learn so that you avoid doing so in the future.

Stop Associating your Self-Worth with Failure

Another reason people have such a difficult time with failure is that they let it define their self-worth. When they succeed, they see themselves as strong and good. Alternatively, they become terrible people when they fail — also known as failures. If you no longer associate your self-worth with whether you succeed or fail, then you will be freer to try. Acknowledge and respect the effort you are putting into something, not the outcome. Eventually, you will succeed, especially if recognize that there are many definitions of success.

Learn Healthy Ways to Cope with Failure

When failure happens, whether directly related to your recovery or some other type of failure, you need to have a healthy way to cope with the negative feelings that occur. Most addicts used to turn to their substance of choice when they encountered failure. Therefore, recovering addicts need to replace these unhealthy coping mechanisms with a healthy one, such as meditating, yoga, praying, or some other mindfulness or relaxation techniques.

Express your Feelings

When you experience failure, do not feel like you have to hide it form the world. Discuss your feelings with a trusted family or friend. This can help you to get an objective viewpoint of the failure, which can help you to learn from it and see the positive aspects. If you do not feel comfortable talking about it, you can journal or express your feelings through a creative outlet.

Failure is not the end of the world. All successful people have failed again and again. How you deal with failure can make a huge difference in your recovery. Do not let it overwhelm you and make you feel hopeless. Instead, embrace it and let it teach you how to do better next time.

5 Ways to Give Back to Those in Recovery

Posted on: May 2nd, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

One of the most effective and beneficial activities anyone in recovery can engage in is an act of service. There are a number of benefits to helping others while in recovery. Helping others can help boost one’s general sense of well being and has been tied to having a better self image.

Engaging in acts of service is also a great way to stay focused on the things that one is grateful for, because it means spending times with others who are less fortunate. Here are five tips on how to give back to those in recovery. It also is an exercise in willingness to be a part of, and contribute to your own sobriety as others have done for you.

Here are five ways to give back to those in recovery:

1. Listen

5 Ways to Give Back to Those in Recovery

As anyone who has been through recovery knows, one of the best assets that any recovering addict can have is a friend who can be a good listener and act as a supportive ear as problems and challenges arise. If you are involved in a twelve step program, make it known to those in your social circle that you are always available to listen.

 You never know if anyone is having a hard time with something in particular or is just feeling lonely or anxious. If you notice someone who is down, ask them what is going on, and show interest in what they are dealing with. Helping another person can be as simple as listening to their daily struggles.

2. Volunteer For A Commitment at a Meeting

Most twelve step meetings need volunteers to do things like collect donations and run each meeting, and they are called commitments. A commitment can be a great way to meet new people at a meeting, especially if you are someone who is naturally a little shy.

Volunteering for a commitment will keep you in the middle of the program, as well as keep you accountable. Many meetings have a high turn-over rate with commitments, so chances are, even if there is no need for help now, there will be a chance for you to contribute in the very near future.

3. Take A Newcomer to a Meeting

Recovery can be a very daunting process, especially in its early stages. If you know someone who has recently gotten sober, offer to accompany them to their first meeting or group therapy session. You can also point them in the direction of literature or Bible verses that have helped you in the past.

If the person has not yet entered some kind of a treatment program, help them to research and find a program that suits their individual personality and their recovery needs. Most public libraries have computers that you may be able to lead them to at no cost.

4. Job Recommendations

Recovery and sobriety are all about reclaiming the stability that was lost when an addict was under the grips of addiction. The nature of addiction is that an addict becomes completely fixated on finding and using drugs. This often places a recovering addict in major financial peril, and it can be difficult to get back on one’s feet after treatment.

If you know a recovering addict who is looking for work, consider whether you are at all in a position to help them find a job. Even if you don’t know anyone who is hiring, you may be able to help them find an outfit to wear to an interview or offer advice on putting together a resume.

5. Organize A Fellowship Event

Getting used to living the sober life is all about being a part of the sober community and extending an invite to those who may not be part of the fellowship. Help to put together a BBQ or a sober dance.

This is a great way to build fellowship with other recovering addicts and to remind yourself and those around you that you can have a great time without the use of drugs or alcohol. You can plan an event of all sizes!

The Pivotal Role Family Takes In Recovery

Posted on: April 25th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Pivotal Role Family Takes

Recovering from alcohol is a challenging process that takes all of an addict’s strength and resolve. The reality of recovery is that no addict can successfully achieve sobriety unless they have made the choice for themselves to get clean, but having a strong family support system in place is a truly invaluable asset for any recovering addict.

Addicts with a loving family supporting them are much more likely to successfully maintain their sobriety than those who do not have a family that they are close to. There are many reasons why family plays such an integral role in an addict’s recovery.

Boosting Sense of Self Worth

One thing that many addicts have in common is a low self image. Many people with low self esteem are at a higher risk for using. Many people who struggle with addiction also see that their self image wanes as they fall deeper and deeper into addiction. When a person is struggling with addiction they often engage in behavior that is not typical for them.

This may include acts that make them feel guilt and anger toward themselves. This is because when a person is addicted to a substance, their brain’s reward system becomes wired to become completely consumed with finding and using more of a substance. As this happens, an addict will begin to place using over the people and things that they hold dear.

When an addict is in recovery, they may begin to feel guilt and experience low self image because of this. These feelings can make recovery more difficult because an addict must believe that he deserves to be happy in order to get better. Having a family who loves him helps reinforce this belief and encourages an addict to seek the help they need.

A Positive Support System  

When a person is using, they often lose touch with people in their lives who would otherwise be a good influence on them. Many addicts generally socialize with other people who are addicted to drugs, and when an addict is recovering, they should generally avoid triggering environments and groups.

It can be very difficult for recovering addicts to find the emotional support they need when they are newly recovered, and a healthy and supportive family can offer important emotional support as well as the company of people who will encourage them to maintain their sobriety.

Family Can Encourage and Addict in Difficult Times

The reality of recovery is that there will be many challenges through out every stage of getting sober. Achieving and maintaining sobriety means coming to terms with a number of difficult emotions and thoughts. It also means facing triggers that an addict once met with using and learning to work through them without using drugs or alcohol.

There will be moments when an addict needs someone to listen or someone who can help be there for them emotionally as they work through these struggles.

Family can be the friend and the support that an addict needs. Twelve step programs and therapists certainly have their own function in an addict’s recovery, but the fact that an addict’s family has known them for so long puts them in a position where they can offer a kind of support that is unique and cannot be found anywhere else.

Family offers unconditional love and can help a recovering addict to realize that they do have what it takes to continue working on their sobriety and taking the challenging but necessary steps to stay healthy and drug free for the rest of their lives.