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 the ‘Alcoholism’ Category

What Exactly is the “New Alcoholism”?

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

The New Alcoholism

People have a certain idea or image of what they believe alcoholism to be. They may assume that when someone is addicted to drinking, it is obvious to everyone around them. An alcoholic may look a certain way, act a certain way or live a lifestyle that they associate with addiction.

In recent years more and more new alcoholics are proving that addiction can happen to the people you least suspect. Alcoholism is happening more than ever to people in professional industries such as doctors, nurses, lawyers and those who are generally successful and making higher incomes. Even some of the most successful and respected actors in Hollywood such as Brad Pitt have revealed their issues with alcohol to the public.

This type of functional addiction is slowly becoming the “new alcoholism” that is causing problems for many Americans.

In the past people may have seen an alcoholic as someone who has low level income or is unemployed, living in a bad neighborhood or even homeless. Now alcoholism tends to occur more often among those who are married with great careers and on the surface appear to have fulfilling lives.

Those working in addiction treatment are also seeing much younger patients, many of them who have decided to become sober and are still under 30 years old. Instead of seeking help after years of addiction, young people are more aware of the issues and are quitting before it becomes a bigger problem.

High Functioning Alcoholism

Although it seems that the face of addiction has been shifting, this could be partially due to the diminishing stigma around alcoholism. With more support and education about alcoholism it could be that those in high profile jobs are less ashamed and more willing to get help. Young people may also have a better understanding of the dangerous effects of alcohol than they did in the past.

While more high functioning alcoholics are getting treatment, the problem itself is not necessarily new. The functioning alcoholic is one of five general sub-types of alcoholism that were categorized in a study released in 2007 by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Abuse.

A functioning alcoholic is able to maintain average or even above average professional or academic lives in spite of a serious addiction. Identifying a functioning alcoholic can be difficult but they may exhibit some of these symptoms:

  • Using alcohol as a reward or drinking to relieve stress
  • Obsessing over the next opportunity to drink
  • Displaying personality changes while intoxicated
  • Repeating drinking patterns and behaviors
  • Insisting they are not an alcoholic because they are successful

Although high functioning alcoholics may show some of these symptoms while they drink socially, they might still be able to maintain great friendships and romantic relationships without any issues. They might also be well-respected in their professional career and continue to achieve a number of great accomplishments.

Denial and Compartmentalizing

One of the reasons it can take more time for functional alcoholics to realize that they have a problem is because they have a strong sense of denial. They may feel that because they do not fit the stereotypical image of an alcoholic, they are actually in control of their drinking. Their success in other aspects of their life can make it hard for them and everyone around them to recognize that they are addicted.

People with high functioning alcoholism remain successful because they are very adept at living a compartmentalized life. They can easily separate their professional and even personal lives from the issues they are dealing with outside of these worlds. Their drinking life is a completely separate problem that never really affects their job.

However, their ability to compartmentalize may keep them addicted for longer as they may not hit rock bottom the way that most alcoholics do. They can continue drinking with minimal consequences in some cases although their health may begin to suffer.

Getting Help for Functioning Alcoholics

Although high functioning alcoholism may not be entirely new, more people are beginning to realize that in spite of the fact that they lead successful lives they are still addicted to alcohol. With less stigma and shame surrounding alcoholism as well as more celebrities speaking out about their issues, alcoholics of all kinds are coming forward to get help.

Even though their professional lives may not suffer from their alcohol problem, getting treatment can help minimize and reverse the negative impact it has on their physical and mental health. Alcohol can still significantly affect a high functioning addict’s mood and they may experience depression, anxiety or other mental health issues.

When a professional suffering from alcoholism chooses to get treatment they can still benefit from the same types of programs as others. They can attend a rehab center and twelve step meetings and even find support groups or treatment programs specifically designed for professionals.

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 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.

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.

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.

Flaked

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.