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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Posts Tagged ‘sobriety’

Bradley Cooper Talks Alcoholism, Depression and Recovery

Posted on: May 7th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper is a famous and esteemed actor and producer.  He first achieved prominence with his work on the television shows Alias and Jack and Bobby. Since then, he has become highly esteemed for his roles in The Hangover trilogy, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle.  He has received two Academy Award nominations, and was named the “Sexist Man Alive” by People magazine in 2011.

However, like many people who seem to outwardly enjoy a great deal of fame and success, his personal life has been marked by struggles.   He has abstained from alcohol since he was 29, out of fears that “If I continued [drinking], I was going to sabotage my whole life.”  In a January 2014 interview with GQ magazine, Bradley spoke about his life’s struggles with alcoholism and depression, and told a story of hope and recovery that can serve as a great encouragement to anyone seeking freedom from the pain of addiction.  

There was a Problem

Many so-called “high functioning” addicts can use their outward success as an excuse to sink further into denial, telling themselves their addiction isn’t really out of control or something they need help for, because they are continuing to be able to do their jobs.  Fortunately, Bradley Cooper possessed enough truthful self-awareness to not fall into that trap.  His GQ interviewer, Zach Baron asked about the impact of his alcoholism, expecting stories of not showing up on set or of “work getting [expletive] up.”  

His response was that things didn’t have to get to that point for him to realize there was a problem. “The best thing I can do is embrace who I am and then do that to the fullest extent, and then whatever happens, happens.”  His alcohol abuse was taking him away from that and putting him’” farther away from fulfilling any potential I would have.” Emma Stone, an actress he has worked with on several films, noticed this transformation herself, saying “He’s gotten more and more present in his life as he got older.”

Personal Transformation

Because alcohol was interfering with his passions and his work, he threw himself into the process of recovery, and grew in a life-saving level of self-awareness and commitment to his career.  His low point occurred after an Achilles injury and accompanying depression that left him homebound and considering quitting acting altogether.  When he saw that the effects of his addiction was leading him to have less and less screen time, that was enough to motivate him to seek change.

After he got his own life in order, his film and television career enjoyed more success then ever, and he discovered that he could live a free and full life being “actually myself…I don’t have to put on all this air to be somebody.”   This outlook is showing a lot of wisdom, that the basis of recovery starts with learning to love and care for yourself. He learned how to get over his anxieties of how he came across to other people, and that led him into a career-inhibiting haze of alcohol.  Once he realized that he could be accepted as himself, he found this freeing truth enough to change his life.

It all starts with a moment of clarity, in which an addict realizes the harm he or she is doing to the well being of his or her self and others, and so seeks out help.  Because Bradley Cooper achieved a moment of clarity, we reap the benefits of his talent and creativity of a man deeply aware of and in tune with himself. 

Should Sober People Drink Kombucha?

Posted on: March 10th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Should Sober People Drink Kombucha?

A recent health trend that has been growing more popular every year is the drink known as kombucha. Sold mostly in health stores initially, it is now available in almost any grocery store and many restaurants. People drink kombucha for its fruity flavor and probiotic properties that are said to improve digestion and boost the immune system.

One of the issues with kombucha that makes it mildly controversial is the fact that the drink is essentially a fermented tea. Through the natural process of fermentation, there is a trace amount of alcohol in every glass or bottle of kombucha. Although the specific percentage is often not listed, most brands will state on their label that the alcohol content is less than 0.5%.

However, there are certain types of kombucha which contain more than the legal amount of 0.5% and now require the buyer to present their I.D. before purchasing it. The alcohol levels in these brands are still minimal but it raises questions about how to classify kombucha. Although kombucha is not technically a beer, wine or other typical alcoholic drink, is it still safe for people in recovery to drink?

What is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a simple drink made from some type of tea, usually black or green tea, sugar for fermentation, fruit juice for flavor and a “scoby” or symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. These ingredients are combined and allowed to ferment for a period of time. The drink is said to have great healing properties and contains numerous enzymes, probiotics and polyphenols which are good for digestion and helping the liver.

Even though it has been touted as a superfood, kombucha had some controversy in recent years after the popular GT brand had to pull all of its bottles from the Whole Foods shelves. It was discovered that their black label kombucha contained more than the legal limit of 0.5% and it was then that the drink became more regulated with certain brands and flavors requiring I.D. to be purchased. Some brands even purposefully make higher percentage kombucha with drinks containing as much as 7% alcohol.

Sobriety and Kombucha

Although kombucha that doesn’t require I.D. is not technically an alcoholic drink, some people may still be weary of drinking it. People in recovery or those that choose to be sober may feel that kombucha is not safe for them. The question of whether a sober person should drink kombucha depends on the individual and their personal stage of recovery.

Someone who recently quit drinking and is still experiencing cravings for alcohol should probably avoid drinking kombucha. It is believed that even trace amounts of alcohol can trigger the body to crave more alcohol. That is why many people in recovery need to avoid cooking with alcohol or using other products that might contain some alcohol.

Twelve step programs tend to discourage members from drinking things like non-alcoholic beer because it becomes a slippery slope that can lead them down the road to relapse. Even the smell of alcohol can be enough to trigger cravings and relapse. Non-alcoholic beer typically has about 0.5% alcohol content which is the same as many kombuchas.

When considering whether to drink kombucha or not, a sober person should evaluate how it makes them feel. Does drinking it make them feel healthy and happy or does it simply make them crave a real beer or wine? Some people might be able to drink kombucha without experiencing any triggers or cravings but it depends on the individual person.

Health and Recovery

A good way to test whether a person should drink kombucha is to think about their motivation for doing so. Are you drinking it because it makes you feel relaxed or reminds you of the way you felt when you had a beer? Or are you simply enjoying it for its health properties and the taste?

When a drink is reminiscent of alcohol for someone it can become a problem because they will eventually want to have a real drink. If you are concerned about drinking kombucha there are plenty of alternative choices for probiotics and health drinks that can be just as effective. Many drinks and foods have probiotics added but are not fermented so there is no trace alcohol that could be harmful to recovery.

The decision to drink kombucha is a personal one and something that the individual has to make for themselves. If you don’t feel stable in your recovery then you should avoid it but if you are finding your sober life easier then it might be okay to at least try it. You need to listen to your body and your mind to make sure that you are making the right choice for your own recovery goals.

My Sober Companion Relapsed

Posted on: January 15th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

 

My Sober Companion Relapsed

Ideally everyone’s experience during and after rehab will involve being surrounded by people you can count on and trust. It is very important to have effective mentors and a support network of individuals who give you guidance and useful advice. But there are times when your mentors and friends are themselves struggling with their sobriety and might falter.

Being in an environment where you are around other people who have also had problems with addiction can be uplifting in many ways. You can relate to one another in a way that you would not with someone who has never had an issue with alcohol or drugs. However, the reality with this situation is that some of the people who are helping you can relapse.

When your sober companion, mentor or friend in your support group relapses, it does not mean that you won’t be able to stay strong in your own sobriety. It might be a step back for you but you can still get back on track and prevent this unfortunate situation from affecting your recovery. The best thing you can do is provide your help and support for them and understand that what they are experiencing must be very difficult.

Putting a Relapse into Perspective

Although you might feel disappointed, betrayed and upset by your sober companion’s mistake it is important to realize that the situation has nothing to do with you. Their relapse does not mean that they don’t care about your recovery or that the things they have taught you were not useful. You are also not in any way to blame for their failure to remain sober, it has to do with their own personal situation outside of your relationship.

One of the most important things to focus on when a friend relapses is to not let it affect your resolve. It can be painful and scary to see someone you were relying on for support to slip back into their addictive habits. But it is necessary to keep in mind that just because they are going through this it doesn’t mean that you will.

It might be easy to jump to the conclusion that because your sober companion was not able to maintain their sobriety then you probably won’t make it either. This of course is not true in any way and you must remind yourself that one person’s failure does not reflect every type of recovery experience. People have their own personal problems to deal with that can affect their ability to stay sober and each individual has a unique recovery journey.

When thinking about your sober companion’s relapse try not to get completely discouraged by the events that have taken place. Addiction and sobriety can shift and fluctuate, even for people that have been sober for a long time. Try your best to remain optimistic both for yourself and your friend’s situation.

Finding Extra Support and Help

The most effective action to take after a sober companion relapses is to find someone else who can help and support you through the situation. Go to a group meeting and tell them about what has taken place. They can give you advice and guidance about what to do under the circumstances and some may have even experienced the same problem.

Try not to be too disappointed in your sober companion that it prevents you from looking for another mentor, sober buddy or sponsor. Just because this particular friend did not provide the good role model that you need does not mean that someone else can’t do that for you. You might feel disillusioned but when you find someone else you can trust it will help you resolve those feelings and move on.

Make sure to continue with whatever treatment program or aftercare you are currently involved in. The crucial thing to do in this time is not to give up on the sober routine that you already have in place that has kept you on track. Continue attending your group meetings, therapy sessions or any other activities you have as part of your recovery schedule.

It is important to have someone to talk to about what happened and your feelings about it. If you are currently seeing a therapist then discuss the situation with them or someone you are close to who is also in recovery. You will need to work through your emotions and process the event in  order to move on.

Everyone goes through various trials and disappointments throughout their recovery experience. Having a sober companion relapse does not mean that you won’t be successful in remaining sober. You can still have an effective recovery and bounce back from this setback.

If you need extra support try to contact a therapist, recovery group or a new sober coach for 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.