Aftercare


Sign of Pennsylvania

St. Joseph Institute for Addiction’s rehab programs can provide you with medically supervised detox and counseling to build the skills necessary for sobriety. However, since addiction is a chronic illness, you may find it helpful to take advantage of some of these community-based resources for ongoing support.

Penn State Collegiate Recovery Center

Penn State’s Collegiate Recovery Community helps students recovering from substance abuse successfully reach their academic goals by connecting them with a variety of campus-based resources.

For example, students in need of campus housing can choose to live in the ROAR (Residence of Addiction Recovery) House. Located in the White Course Apartments, this drug and alcohol free community connects students with their peers in recovery to provide a safe and supportive living arrangement.

Support for students doesn’t end after they graduate. In addition to the student-run Lions for Recovery, there is also an alumni support group that helps graduates with substance abuse issues stay sober and take advantage of professional networking opportunities.

United Against Heroin Addiction

Formed to address the heroin epidemic in Centre County, United Against Heroin Addiction offers direct assistance to people with addiction problems, emotional support to those affected by addiction, and a number of community education and awareness programs. A key component of this process is the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP), a self-designed prevention and wellness process that can be used by people of all ages to address substance abuse as well as other mental health challenges.

In addition to working directly with those affected by addiction, United Against Heroin Addiction also advocates for effective legislation to address the state’s growing opioid epidemic and additional funding for research into new addiction treatment options. All of this work is made possible by a group of dedicated volunteers.

Just for Today

Founded in 2006, Just for Today provides addiction education and advocacy for the recovery community in central Pennsylvania. They are a licensed provider of Vivitrol, a non-narcotic, monthly intramuscular injection that blocks receptors in the brain associated with the “high” from opioids such as heroin or Oxycontin.

In addition to providing general recovery services, Just for Today offers special recovery houses for veterans, as well as recovery groups and meetings focusing on the unique challenges former service members face in maintaining their sobriety.

Women for Sobriety

Founded in 1975, Women for Sobriety is self-help recovery group for women offering face-to-face meetings as well as online chats and a 24/7 forum. They are not affiliated with any other recovery organization and operate by the philosophy ” “Release the past – plan for tomorrow – live for today.”

Although Women for Sobriety is based in Pennsylvania, they have members from throughout the U.S. and Canada. In June, the organization hosts an annual three-day conference to help members take the next step in their recovery.

Hearts for Homeless

If substance abuse issues are related to a lack of stable housing, Hearts for Homeless can help by provide temporary shelter, access to case managers, and 24/7 support. The organization serves those who are currently homeless as well as those who are in danger of becoming homeless.

In addition to offering connections to substance abuse treatment resources, Hearts for Homeless can provide job search assistance and help navigating problems with the criminal justice system. They are one of the few community shelters open during the day and encourage residents in need to drop in whenever they have questions or need a place to get away from the elements.

Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs

This state-run website helps you learn more about your insurance coverage for substance abuse treatment and provides a searchable directory of care providers within the state.

You can also use the site to search for your local county drug and alcohol office. Staff members at these offices are able to provide personalized assistance finding addiction treatment options, with a focus on free or low-cost choices for individuals who do not have adequate insurance coverage.

Centre Helps

Centre Helps offers a 24-hour hotline at 800-494-2500 or 814-237-5855 to help residents in crisis. In addition to answering questions about addiction treatment and recovery resources in Pennsylvania, they can provide answers about financial assistance for low-income people, help for victims of domestic abuse, and resources for the disabled.

If you’d rather talk to someone in person, you can visit the drop-in center that is open weekdays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm at 410 South Fraser Street in State College. At the drop-in center, you can request a case manager who will be able to provide personalized assistance tailored to the specific challenges you are facing.

By Dana Hinders

To learn more about our programs, please visit our website.

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How to cope with cravings

You may leave rehab feeling like you’ve got your addiction under control, but cravings are a normal part of the recovery process.

Cravings are often described as a feeling of intense hunger for alcohol or drugs. When you’re experiencing a craving, you might feel like the abused substance is calling out your name so strongly that you can smell or taste it. You might experience physical symptoms associated with anxiety, such as a rapid heartbeat and headache.

Addiction is a chronic illness, which means you’ll likely face some form of cravings for many months or even years to come. However, once you learn which tactics work to keep your cravings under control, they’ll decrease in both frequency and intensity.

1. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness refers to making a deliberate effort to focus your attention on the present moment. When you’re having a craving, mindfulness meditation can help you increase awareness of your personal triggers and control emotions that are triggering the urge to use.

Focusing your attention on your breathing and the sensations you’re experiencing in the moment will help you see that uncomfortable emotions are only temporary. You can learn to think of cravings as visitors to your mind that you’re under no obligation to welcome or obey.

2. Distract Yourself

Cravings are short lived, with research showing that intensity diminishes after 15 to 30 minutes. This means the best way to beat a craving may be to simply distract yourself until it passes. For example:

  • Watch a movie
  • Read a book
  • Spend time in nature
  • Write in your journal
  • Draw, paint, or engage in a creative hobby
  • Listen to music

Since stress is often a trigger for cravings, enjoyable distractions will also help you manage the situation by lowering your stress level.

3. Remove Yourself from Dangerous Situations

If you’re feeling the urge to use because you’re surrounded by reminders of your old life, you need to remove yourself from the situation. Continuing to hang around places and engage in activities that you associate with using sets you up for relapse.

Be honest with the people in your life about what triggers your cravings. If you know that going back to your favorite bar is going to make you crave a drink, you shouldn’t be risking your sobriety by putting yourself in a dangerous situation. Anyone who doesn’t support your commitment to staying clean doesn’t deserve a place in your life.

4. Avoid Entertainment that Glorifies Substance Abuse

Songs, TV shows, movies, video games, and books that make substance abuse seem glamorous can trick your brain into a craving. Surrounding yourself with portrayals of people who’ve overcome addiction is a better alternative, since inspirational stories can help strengthen your resolve to stay clean.

Entertainment is also a common person-specific cue for cravings. Person-specific cues are triggers that are unique to each individual, such as associating a certain song with drug use because it was playing the first time you got high. A 2015 study found that person-specific cues have a stronger effect on cravings that substance-specific cues such as the presence of bottles, lighters, or drug paraphernalia.

5. Call a Friend

Knowing when to turn to your support network is an essential part of building a successful sober life for yourself. If you’re struggling with a craving, reach out to a supportive friend or family member. Talking to someone about what you’re feeling can help strengthen your resolve to not fall prey to your cravings.

Talking also helps you remember the negative consequences of using. When you’re faced with a stubborn craving, it’s easy to fall prey to the trap of only thinking about the benefits of drug or alcohol use. Your support system can help remind you of how much you have to lose if you give in to temptation. They can also bring you back to reality by reminding you that using “just once” is likely to lead to a complete relapse.

6. Go to a Meeting

Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step groups play a vital role in maintaining sobriety by providing you with access to a community of people who understand the challenges you’re facing. Going to a meeting can help you manage cravings by reminding you that you’re not alone and showing you that a lasting recovery is possible no matter what obstacles you’ve struggled with in the past.

12-step meetings are available in almost every community, with larger cities having multiple meetings per day. This means you can find a meeting to attend even if you’re away from home. If you’re struggling with transportation issues, contact a meeting leader to see if another member can provide a ride.

By Dana Hinders

 

To learn more about our programs, please visit our website.

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family

A lasting recovery requires you to replace harmful habits with healthy alternatives. Family-friendly recreation lets you stay on track with your sobriety while making special memories with the people you care about the most.

Although it’s always a good idea to chat with your family to see what activities are of interest, here are some suggestions to help you start planning your next adventure.


Plant a Garden
Planting a garden is a wonderful family project if you enjoy being outside and working with your hands. Watering, weeding, and harvesting teaches responsibility to kids of all ages. There is also evidence that growing your own food promotes healthier eating habits for the whole family.

If you don’t have the luxury of a big backyard, don’t automatically write off the idea of planting a garden. A small container garden can be placed on your porch or sidewalk. You might not be able to grow all the food your family needs, but you can grow fresh herbs, carrots, onions, and tomatoes with relatively little space.

Take Up Geocaching
Geocaching is the modern-day version of a treasure hunt. Participants use a GPS receiver and other navigational techniques to search for containers known as geocaches that are hidden all over the world. The geocaches contain logs that document the activities of past participants and tiny trinkets for trading.  

In addition to finding geocaches, your family can also try creating and hiding your own geocaches. Picking out trinkets to fill the box and choosing a special hiding place is a great activity for children who are too young to actively participate in the act of finding a geocache. Visit the Geocaching 101 website to learn more.

Be a Tourist in Your Hometown
Traveling to far away locations is certainly exciting, but planning a trip can be time consuming and expensive. As an alternative, why not explore some of the destinations in your community that you’ve previously overlooked?

Zoos, aquariums, museums, art galleries, historical sites, and local landmarks are excellent places to visit for the entire family. If you’re on a tight budget, look for attractions that offer free or reduced-price admission on select days.

Go Camping
Spending time in nature and getting away from electronic distractions offers the chance to reconnect with the people you care about in a more meaningful way. You don’t even have to travel far, since you’ll experience many of the benefits of camping even if you’re simply pitching a tent in the backyard.

Younger children will love to make s’mores, collect fireflies in a jar, or skip rocks along the river. Older children can tell ghost stories, plan a scavenger hunt, or see how many constellations they can find. Photographing the beautiful scenery or playing outdoor games such as cornhole and horseshoes are also great options.

Plan a Game Night
A weekly family game night is sure to provide plenty of special memories. Scrabble, Monopoly, and Yahtzee are classic games that can be enjoyed by players of all ages, but there are plenty of newer board games to consider as well. If you’re not sure what types of games your family might enjoy, see if your local public library has titles to borrow. Many libraries now offer board games, puzzles, and movies to check out in addition to books and magazines.

Add a little extra element of fun to your family game night by purchasing a thrift store trophy that you can award to the winner. Kids love having tangible evidence of their victory, especially when it’s the first time they’ve managed to win against a parent or older sibling.

Have a Movie Marathon
A movie marathon is the perfect chance to share your favorite classic films with your children or to enjoy a series such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter together. With today’s plethora of streaming services, almost any movie you want is available with just a few clicks.

Create a cozy atmosphere by encouraging everyone to change into their pajamas and covering the living room floor with pillows and blankets. Break out the popcorn, soda, and candy, then get ready to enjoy some quality family bonding time.

Volunteer
There’s no greater joy in life than helping others. Volunteering lets you give back to your community, make new friends, and build new skills.

Here are some volunteer ideas that are appropriate for the whole family:

  • Help build a home through Habitat for Humanity.
  • Care for pets at a local animal shelter.
  • Prepare and distribute care packages for the homeless.
  • Organize a canned food drive.
  • Clean up a local park.
  • Help elderly neighbors with yard work.

By Dana Hinders

To learn more about our programs, please visit our website.

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