Relapse

Self-Care in Battling PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome)

My favorite group to do with our patients is on Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). If you are new to this acronym, PAWS refers to the random cravings, dreams, mood swings, body aches, sweats, and other symptoms that come a few weeks after the initial withdrawal and detox – and they can keep coming up to …

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Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a Son, Partner, and a Dad for 3 Children

Superbowl Sunday started with some negative news here on the east coast. Academy award winner Hoffman had died due to a suspected overdose. Hoffman was in detox last year after a heroin relapse following 23 years of sobriety. He was found on Sunday with a needle in his arm.  The harsh reality of heroin always seems …

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What A Perfect Excuse To Get Wasted!

A young woman I knew killed herself last year. The details don’t matter, but for the sake of anyone dealing with depression in themselves or a family member, I will mention that she had gone off her meds and was drinking. That’s not why I’m writing, though. The anniversary is coming up two weeks from Saturday, and …

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Wherever you go, there you are…

Around the recovery community we often hear the expression “geographical cure.”  This refers to the seemingly obvious fact that regardless of where we go, we take our personalities, problems, and the ways we cope with issues right along with us.  In fact, “geographicals” are a physical expression of denial. Addiction is a disease.  As such, it does …

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So Much For “Just Say No!”

Addiction occurs in the sub-cortical portion of the brain — the so-called “primitive brain” that evolved long before the relatively recent development of the cerebral cortex and its ability to reason. These parts of the brain are not subject to coercion, logic, willpower, or thinking problems away. They are the parts that control the functions …

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What We Would Not Do For Ourselves

There’s a quote from the AA Big Book about God “doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”  Now before you get all excited, this is not a religious screed, and I don’t talk religion here — although I may mention spirituality from time to time, which is not the same thing. But there is something about …

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Opiate Overdose Due To Reduced Tolerance

In practically all cases, opiates kill by respiratory depression: when we OD, the part of the brain that controls breathing shuts down, and we “forget” to breathe.  This causes death by hypoxia — suffocation. I was reading again today about another addict who overdosed and died because she misjudged her tolerance for Oxycontin after leaving …

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Recent research has shown that breaking up with a lover has many of the characteristics of withdrawal from drugs.   We already knew that romantic attachments and sexual activity stimulate the same parts of the brain as drugs and alcohol.  That “pleasure center” exists in order to reward us for doing things that are good for …

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If you keep on doing what you used to do, you’ll get what you used to get. On the other hand…

This evening I was thinking back to the few weeks immediately prior to when my wife and I got sober.  Things were not going well for us at that point.  We had been evicted from two homes within the past year, and had two homes foreclosed — one of them the house where my mother …

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