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 ‘Recovery’ Category

Following a Wellness Recovery Action Plan

Posted on: January 29th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Following a Wellness Recovery Action Plan

When you discover that you have mental health issues through a diagnosis it can be overwhelming to think of how it will affect your life. Even though mental health can be complex, it can be helpful for people to find ways that they can take action for their own well being. People need to have tools available to them to be able to manage their mental illness day to day.

A wellness recovery action plan is a way for people to work toward taking control of their mental health so that they are not always at the mercy of their symptoms. It is a process by which people can decrease their troubling thoughts and behaviors, increase their feelings of personal empowerment, improve the quality of their life and reach their goals. Many treatment programs offer their patients help through creating a wellness recovery action plan or WRAP that will be personalized to their needs.

In order to overcome personal wellness issues people need to be equipped with tools that make it easier to navigate daily life. A WRAP is a way for them to help figure out what tools they need and how to apply them to various situations that affect their mental health and wellness. Having an action plan helps people to feel more prepared and informed about their mental health problems.

Key Elements of an Action Plan

In the process of developing an action plan, patients will need to focus on a few key elements. They will need to make a list of things that help improve their wellness so that it is part of their toolbox whenever they are experiencing symptoms. Resources for wellness could include things like contacting friends or supporters, counseling, mindfulness exercises, relaxation techniques, journaling or other actions that they find personally help them feel better.

Once a patient knows what their wellness tools are they will know where to turn or what actions to take when they are feeling an onset of symptoms. Their action plan can also include ideas for daily maintenance so that they know what they need to accomplish everyday to maintain their wellness. They could incorporate some of their wellness tools as part of their daily routine so that they minimize stress and prevent triggers.

As part of their wellness recovery action plan, patients also need to know as much as possible about their own personal triggers. A trigger is some type of external circumstance, or event that can make you feel uncomfortable and lead to symptoms of your disorder such as anxiety or depression. When patients are aware of their triggers they can find ways to avoid them or manage them the best that they can.

In addition to recognizing triggers, patients must be aware of the early warning signs that their mental health is beginning to suffer. These could be internal, subtle signs that you feel worse than usual and the feelings could escalate if you don’t manage them with the right actions. It is important to take advantage of wellness tools any time trigger and early warning signs become an issue.

Handling a Crisis

Another crucial part of a WRAP is having a crisis plan in advance so that you will know what actions to take should you experience a difficult episode of your mental illness. Even with careful maintenance a crisis can occur at any time and you need to be prepared to handle it. You should be able to recognize signs of a crisis as early as possible so that you can ask caretakers or friends for support.

You should have a plan in place for you want to take over responsibilities for you during a crisis and what type of healthcare you will need. Make sure whoever is supporting you understands what they will need to do to provide you with care and what possible actions they should avoid for your wellness. You can also have a post-crisis plan so that you know what to do to get yourself well again and back on your daily maintenance plan.

You recovery action plan needs to take into account every possibility that could occur with your illness. From daily maintenance of mental health symptoms to a more intense episode, it is important to be prepared for absolutely everything. Having a crisis plan in place helps patients feel more confident about how to handle potential issues in the future.

A WRAP is something you can work on with your therapist or while you are in a treatment program. It will continue to be useful even after you have stabilized and are feeling better. No matter what stage you are in with your mental health, life can be unpredictable and a wellness recovery action plan can help you be ready for anything.

Family Therapy at Gooden Center

Posted on: January 24th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Family Therapy at Gooden Center

People that suffer from addiction often have complicated family dynamics that can make recovery more difficult for everyone involved. Addiction affects everyone in the family and there may be many relationships that have been damaged as a result of the person’s substance abuse. Attending family therapy is a necessary and greatly beneficial part of our addiction treatment and recovery program.

Family issues can be closely connected to a person’s addictive behavior and guidance from a therapist can help family members work out some of these issues. It is important for a person with an addiction to have a stable home life and try to repair some of the rocky relationships they have with loved ones. Conflict at home will only serve to fuel their addiction and make it much more difficult for them to remain sober.

The goal of family therapy is for the addict and the people closest to them to learn how to resolve personal differences, talk about problems in a constructive way and learn to be more connected. A healthy family life can be an essential part of living a sober lifestyle and maintaining better mental health. We understand the importance of family dynamics and make sure to incorporate regular family therapy sessions for each patient in recovery.

The Benefits of Family Therapy

There are many reasons that treatment should include family therapy in order to allow the patient the best possible chance for success in recovery. Numerous studies have shown that treatment approaches that involve the family have better engagement from patients and higher rates of success. Patients who take advantage of family therapy are often more committed to their sobriety and participate more in aftercare programs.

While individual therapy gives the patient a chance to focus on their own personal problems, family therapy helps them gain awareness of their behavior and how it affects others. They can learn to improve their communication style and the quality of their relationships with those that are closest to them. Many addicts struggle with their ability to communicate with others and it is an important skill they must learn throughout treatment.

Family therapy not only helps addicts, it is an opportunity for their loved ones to improve their own communication and gain more awareness about addiction. Family members can use these therapy sessions to learn self-care and how to increase the quality of their relationships. The group as a whole will feel better once they have completed several sessions.

Family members also need to learn how to avoid any enabling behaviors that could endanger the addict later on when they complete their treatment. People in the family may have a tendency to enable the addict without even realizing. Therapy allows them to become more educated about addiction, codependent behavior and the best way to support their loved one in their sobriety.

Reaching Goals in Family Therapy

Attending group therapy sessions for the family is not only to improve their relationships and allow healing, it is also a way to reach important recovery goals. Everyone in the therapy sessions will need to put in some time and work to practice what the therapist teaches them whenever they meet. This means applying what they learn to see how it works to improve family relationships.

The biggest goal of family therapy is creating a home environment that will be stable, loving and free from stress and conflict that could endanger the addict’s recovery. The home should be a safe place with positive communication and everyone should have the ability to resolve issues effectively. Family life doesn’t have to be perfect, but for an addict their relationships with their family play a major role in their recovery.

Ideally the family members that the addict currently lives with or spends the most time with will need to attend therapy sessions on a regular basis throughout the patient’s treatment program. The therapist will ask for input from everyone in the group and ensure that they are all on the same page as far as improving family life. If everyone participates and does their share, family therapy can create a lot of positive change for those who attend.

Family therapy can help improve social functioning for an addict, make it more likely for them to stay in treatment and reduce harmful behaviors. It can also reduce the occurence of separation or divorce and create better relationships overall. Staying focused on the goals of family therapy will create a better outcome for everyone involved.

The Gooden Center understands the importance of family dynamics in an individual’s life and how their family relationships affect their health and stability. If you are interested in family therapy, we have options available in our treatment programs to incorporate key members of your family into your recovery plan.

The Opioid Epidemic’s Effect on Children

Posted on: January 20th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Opioid Epidemic’s Effect on Children

The steady increase in the number of people abusing opioids and overdosing on prescription drugs has taken its toll on the U.S. However, it is not only the drug abusers themselves that suffer because of these substances but also the people around them. Children are greatly affected by the opioid epidemic when their parents or caretakers lose control of their drug use.

From the early days of pregnancy even until they reach high school, children with parents who abuse opioids are at risk for a number of problems. Prenatal drug exposure can give children health problems and unfortunately this trend has been increasing in the U.S. More expectant moms addicted to opioids have been placing their babies for adoptions out of fear that they will not be able to provide parental care for them.

Children born to moms who have been abusing opioids have to experience withdrawal symptoms upon birth because the drugs are in their system as well. Prenatal exposure to opiates causes the worst withdrawal effects compared to other drugs. Adoptive parents often have to decide whether to adopt a baby that has been exposed to opiates due to the birth mother’s addiction.

Addicted Parents and their Children

Even for parents that were not addicted to drugs at the beginning of their child’s life, their behavior can have a dramatic impact on a kid at any age. Even previously great parents can become distracted and unavailable to children when they are dealing with an opioid addiction. Once the drugs take hold they will find it more and more difficult to be present for raising and caring for a child.

Parents can become addicted to opioids for variety of different reasons but many of them simply get hooked on prescriptions after surgery or pain issues. Once an addiction escalates they may start to disappear from their child’s lives and end up neglecting them at key stages of their development. Many of these parents struggling with addiction still care about their children but find it hard to balance parenthood with the things they are going through.

Unfortunately many kids now are either dealing with parental neglect or they are reeling from the aftermath of a parent’s fatal drug overdose. The recent opioid epidemic has sent a flood of children to foster homes after losing their parents to an addiction. In many areas of the country the number of children in court custody has increased and even quadrupled in certain cities.

Mainly because of the opioid crisis, studies revealed that there were 30,000 more children in foster care in 2015 than there were in 2012 which represents an 8 percent increase. In 14 states, the number of foster kids rose by 25 percent between 2011 and 2015. The problem became so severe in states like Texas, Florida and Oregon that kids had to sleep in state buildings because there were no more foster homes available.

Many states are low on federal child welfare money and are struggling to find a solution to the sudden influx of foster kids in need of care. The states hit hardest by prescription drug abuse and high overdose rates are not able to accommodate every child that has been orphaned by drug addicted parents. With the opioid epidemic continuing to increase, the problem is only getting worse for kids.

Long Term Effects on Youth

Even for children who still live with addicted parents, the effects on their development can be severe. Children in households where parents struggle with substance abuse are more likely to experience long-term effects of neglect or abuse than other children. Having an addicted parent is considered a type of early trauma exposure that can have serious repercussions on their mental health.

Children with addicted parents are more likely to suffer from mental health disorders including their own issues with substance abuse and illnesses like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Living with an addict can have a profound impact on a young person’s mental health. There have also been reports of an increase in teen suicides that are closely linked with the opioid crisis.

Kids with parents who suffer from addiction are exposed to neglect and sometimes abuse and violence. Growing up in this environment can make them more likely to struggle academically and socially as they get older. Parents who don’t get help for their addiction are potentially creating life-long problems for their children.

Opioid addiction is on the rise but it is possible for people to recover and lead more stable lives while providing better parental care. There are many treatment centers that can offer help for anyone struggling with a dependency on prescription drug. If you or someone you love has a problem with painkillers then contact a treatment facility near you to get help.

Can Court Ordered Treatment be Helpful for Long Term Sobriety?

Posted on: December 19th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Can Court Ordered Treatment be Helpful for Long Term Sobriety?

Not everyone who attends rehab for an addiction is doing so voluntarily because they have made a decision to quit. Many people end up quitting drugs as a result of legally mandated treatment ordered by the criminal justice system. Even though it may not be the individual’s personal choice to receive treatment, these kinds of treatment programs can still be very effective at facilitating long-term sobriety.

Drug offenders are often pressured by the court to participate in drug abuse treatment as a way to help rehabilitate them and reduce the population in already over-crowded prisons. Instead of facing jail time, someone who has broken the law with a drug related crime can go to treatment and learn how to manage their addiction. Surprisingly, these types of court ordered treatment situations have success rates that are as good or better than those that lack any kind of legal pressure.

Being ordered to attend rehab depends on the crime and whether the judge and prosecution believes the person will benefit from treatment. Court ordered rehabilitation is mandatory which means that the offender has no other option but to enter a rehab program. Most often, the offender was under the influence of an illicit substance when they committed their crime and the nature of the crime is not severe enough to merit jail time.

People who commit minor crimes while under the influence of drugs might do so because their drug use has impaired their judgement. They also might be stealing or getting involved in some other illegal activity simply to fuel their addiction. In these cases, court ordered drug treatment is a good solution as their criminal behavior is only a result of their substance abuse.

The Effectiveness of Mandatory Rehab

One might assume that because the person is forcibly placed in rehab, that court ordered treatment will have no effect on their recovery. The reality is that many people benefit greatly from attending rehab in this situation. They might face more challenges and risks for relapse when they leave treatment, but it is possible to stay sober long-term following mandatory rehab.

Research has shown that no matter what the circumstances of a person entering rehab, the treatment program itself has the positive potential for success. A study following a group of men who attended rehab either voluntarily or through a court order found that they had similar success rates after five years of living sober. Both groups of men were less likely to relapse and had high sustained abstinence rates.

There are many different reasons why mandatory treatment is still effective for addicts. Most people attend treatment voluntarily do so after they have hit “rock bottom” or have faced some difficult consequence of their addiction. A person who faces potential jail time is dealing with some serious consequences, and might realize that their addiction is what put them into this situation.

People who attend rehab voluntarily are sometimes confronted by people in their lives through an intervention. In this situation they are told that their addiction has become out of hand and that they need to attend treatment. Court ordered treatment is another case in which the individual is told that they would benefit from rehab because their addiction has become harmful to themselves and others.

Mostly, the effectiveness of mandatory rehab is due to the fact that treatment centers can help provide people with the motivation they need to quit. Even if someone did not have enough internal motivation to check themselves into a treatment center, their rehab program can help foster the desire to be sober. Being around people that want to make positive changes can be inspiring and change a person’s mind about their drug use.

Avoiding Relapse

Mandatory treatment can be very effective, but patients must be especially careful to avoid relapse as they often face unique challenges after returning home. People who have committed crimes due to their addiction might have a number of other problems to deal with such as educational and employment issues, mental health problems or financial difficulties. It is important for people to continue receiving support following their court ordered treatment.

Returning home can mean facing triggers and people from the past who may still be involved in drugs or crime. In order to avoid the temptation to return to a criminal lifestyle, the individual must be careful to stay in contact with other sober people from their rehab program or twelve step group. If the rehab center offers an aftercare program then this can be very helpful in preventing relapse.

Anyone charged with a drug related crime will benefit greatly from attending a treatment program as an alternative. Rehab is an inherently positive experience no matter what kind of circumstances led you there.

Sober Living Guide

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

Sober Living

For anyone that has gone through rehab, going back to your normal life can be an intimidating transition. Even though you might have made a lot of progress in your work at the treatment center, you could have a lot of legitimate concerns about going back home. There may be certain people or situations that you are worried about facing.

Sober living is something that takes a lot of time and practice to feel comfortable in. After completing rehab, don’t expect to feel totally confident right away when you go back home and deal with day to day stresses. Even though it might be hard, there are steps you can take to become more stable in your sobriety while living on your own.

There are many aspects of your life that you will have to learn how to deal with as a sober person. Your job, spending time with friends and family, or just getting through each day can be difficult when you have been accustomed to using substances for a long period of time. You may be faced with a lot of triggers and not know how to handle them at first.

Sober living is a learning process that will require your energy and commitment. As long as you stay focused on your goal of being sober and living a healthier lifestyle then you can safely get through the most difficult triggers and cravings. There are plenty of strategies that can help you make it through your transition from rehab to living sober on your own.

Attending an Aftercare Program

If you feel particularly stressed or afraid of what will happen after you leave rehab, then take advantage of any aftercare programs that your treatment center offers. Most addiction treatment facilities provide some kind of option for former patients to continue receiving help and support in the first few months after they leave. Addiction treatment specialists understand how difficult it can be to return home and face numerous triggers so they are there to provide any kind of support you need.

Aftercare programs differ at each treatment center but most will allow you to continue coming back periodically so that you can speak to a therapist or a support group about the struggles you are facing at home. Aftercare may also offer important education opportunities such as relapse prevention which will teach former patients the tools that they can use if they are on the brink of a relapse. With relapse prevention you can learn about what to do in any situation where you feel overwhelmed by triggers.

Another reason aftercare programs can be beneficial following treatment is that they can also offer support for your family members. If there is tension in your household or your family members are not sure how to handle the issues you are dealing with then they can receive training and guidance. The more that your family understands about addiction and sober living, the more support and help you will have at home in difficult times.

The most important aspect of aftercare is having a place to talk or a channel of communication with people that you trust. You will be going through a lot when you go home and having professionals to talk to can help relieve stress and give you an outlet for your feelings. You can receive the guidance that you need and talk through all of your issues with people that understand.

Being Part of a Sober Community

Sober CommunityAs you attend aftercare and learn how to cope with your issues at home, it can be helpful to start establishing a support system by getting involved in a sober community. You can begin by finding a twelve step program in your local area where you can start to connect with other people going through the same issues that you are. Support group meetings are a great place to meet people you care about and make lifelong friends.

It is crucial when you go back home after rehab to have other sober friends that you can talk to in times of stress. If all of your friends still drink or use drugs then you will have no one you can rely on for support when you are struggling to stay sober. Make sure that you are a part of a sober community and have sober friends or mentors so that you have people in your life that can help keep you on track.

In some cases, building up your recovery community and network of friends that support you can mean ending some toxic relationships. You want to be surrounded by people that provide a positive influence and are there for you when you need them. If someone in your life proves to be a bad friend, a negative influence on you or doesn’t support your sobriety then it might be time to move on.

With a network of sober people you can start to feel more confident and secure whenever things get difficult. You will know that you always have someone to talk to should you experience a serious trigger or craving. Make a list of sober friends you can call whenever you are in a bad place and stay connected with them as often as possible.

Finding New Hobbies and Activities

As you spend time with your new sober friends you might start to think about what activities you can get involved in to keep life interesting and fun. Since much of your free time may have been spent engaging in substance abuse in the past, you may have to start developing new hobbies. This can be a positive experience as you can try things you have never done before and maybe even find something you love.

If there were certain activities you did in rehab that you enjoyed such as art therapy, music, hiking, swimming etc then you can continue to pursue these. Rehab is a time where people are often introduced to new experiences through the programs various classes and scheduled activities. If there was something you did in rehab that made you happy then make it a regular part of your life.

Planning group activities with your sober friends can also be a great way to keep yourself busy and learn how to have fun without the use of any substances. Instead of going to bars and parties as you might have in the past you can think of other group activities that don’t involve any alcohol. You can plan a group hike, go bowling, have a game night, go to a museum or even go on a camping trip together.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to finding hobbies and activities that don’t involve alcohol or drugs. You will find that being sober can actually open doors to things that you never thought of trying that actually make you feel much more happy and fulfilled.

Ongoing Therapy Sessions

After completing rehab it may be hard to go back to your normal life without having someone guiding you at every step. Some people need extra support in order to get through the painful transition to sobriety. Continuing to go to a therapist on a regular basis can be beneficial for mental and emotional health.

Living sober can be especially difficult if you have any mental health issues, personal problems or unresolved conflict. Having a therapist to talk to can give you the mental stability and guidance that you need as you continue to work through your problems. People with co-occurring disorders will need to have a therapist that they see regularly to prevent their mental illness from interfering with their recovery.

While your therapy sessions during rehab may have taken place every day, you may be able to continue to see a therapist on a weekly basis for support. Many people rely on therapy to help them work through the problems that they experience every day regardless of what their status is in recovery. Make sure to find a therapist that specializes in addiction recovery and has experience with helping people maintain their sobriety.

SoberGetting Involved and Helping Other Addicts

Sometimes a great way to stay on track with your sobriety is to be involved in giving back to your community. Doing something for others and providing your time, support and generosity can actually help strengthen your own sobriety. Giving back to others especially those in the sober community can be a transformative experience that helps to heal negative thoughts and emotions.

Volunteering in any way you can will help you avoid returning to unhealthy habits because it holds you accountable and creates a feeling of positivity and purpose in your life. You can work as a mentor to someone who is newly sober or work with organizations that need volunteers for charity events. Any way that you can give back will give you a chance to forget about your own issues and work to help someone else.

While they are in the midst of an addiction, addicts can become very self-centered and motivated by their own needs and pursuit of feeling good. Volunteering and working to help someone else can combat those selfish tendencies and help you focus your attention on others rather than focusing solely on yourself. Helping out in any way you can will create a feeling of gratitude that is very important in the process of recovery and sober living.

Finding Your Spirituality

Many rehab programs and support groups include some type of spiritual aspect that can help people feel more positive in recovery. Spirituality is important to maintain in sober living because it prevents a feeling of emptiness or lack of meaning that can be dangerous and negative. Anyone who wants to maintain their sobriety will benefit from some type of spiritual practice.

Being spiritual does not necessarily mean that you need to follow any particular religion or go to a church. Spirituality can be very personal and can take many different forms depending on the individual. If there are certain ideas, teachings or practices that you feel connected to spiritually then pursue those as often as you can.

Sometimes spirituality can be as simple as meditating daily to keep your mind and spirit calm. Those without a spiritual practice may feel lost and struggle to find meaning in their lives. As long as you have some sense of spiritual connection then you will find it easier to live a sober lifestyle.

Focus on Sobriety

No matter what you discover in terms of hobbies, spirituality and a sober community the most important thing is to keep sobriety as your number one goal. Remember that you need to take care of yourself and do all that you can to prevent yourself from relapsing. Although relapse can happen and it is possible to recover from it, you should do your best to maintain your sobriety permanently.

If you find yourself in any situation or around any people that you feel are putting your sobriety in jeopardy then make sure to put your recovery first. Never put any one thing above your sobriety as it is thing that matters most at this point in your life. If there are any people that you don’t trust or feel are not being supportive enough in your efforts to become sober then you might need to take a break from them.

Keep in mind that even though it might feel hard to stay sober in the early months, over time it will get much easier. The longer that you are sober, the more confident you will become in your ability to remain a sober person permanently. You will become adjusted to the sober lifestyle and feel more comfortable every day as you grow more accustomed to your new habits.

As you develop your sober routine you will eventually that your life is happier and more fulfilled than it ever was when you were struggling with addiction. Sober living can be a healthier and more enjoyable than you have ever felt in your life before.