Entries tagged with “Addiction Recovery”.

Man in museumCertain personality traits have been proven to be associated with the development of substance use disorders. Exposure to trauma and a lack of a strong support system can also contribute to the development of unhealthy coping mechanisms. In some cases, this can include the development of substitute addictions after completing a drug or alcohol rehab program.

About Substitute Addictions

Substitute addictions are behavioral addictions that are used to replace the void left by no longer abusing drugs or alcohol. They may seem to be harmless coping mechanisms at first glance but can cause many of the same negative consequences as substance abuse.

Just as substance abuse affects people from all demographic groups, anyone can develop a substitute addiction after leaving rehab. However, individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression may be slightly more vulnerable to the development of substitute addictions.

Common substitute addictions include:

  • Food addiction: Food addictions are very common in the early stages of recovery. This typically involves binging on sweets or fast food but can include any form of overeating. Food addiction can lead to weight gain, nutritional deficiencies, and a general feeling of low energy or sluggishness.
  • Shopping addiction: Someone with a shopping addiction compulsively purchases items they do not need or want. They may cause harm to their finances, run out of storage space in their home, or hide their purchases from others out of shame or embarrassment.
  • Gambling addiction: Scratch tickets, online casinos, or sports betting offer instant thrills, especially when you win a prize. However, for someone with addictive personality traits, gambling can quickly become an obsession that leads to significant financial troubles.
  • Work addiction: Being devoted to your career is admirable, but not at the expense of maintaining relationships with loved ones. Work addiction can also cause problems if you’re not sleeping, eating, and engaging in appropriate self-care activities to promote recovery from substance abuse.

Video game addiction, social media addiction, or exercise addiction may also be considered types of substitute addictions for people in recovery. Any activity done to excess has the potential to cause mental distress and negative consequences.

Signs of a Substitute Addiction

The signs of a substitute addiction are quite similar to those of an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Your behavior may be considered a substitute addiction if you agree with the following statements:

  • You feel embarrassed, guilty, or ashamed by your behavior.
  • You lie to friends and family about your activities.
  • You’ve experienced negative consequences, such as health problems or financial difficulty, due to your behavior but feel powerless to stop.
  • You find yourself neglecting other areas of your life to engage in the desired behavior.
  • You’ve engaged in illegal or unethical actions, such as stealing, to support your behavior.
  • You have tried to cut back or change your behavior patterns without success.

A Note About Medication Assisted Treatment

Medication assisted treatment refers to the practice of using prescription medications to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce the urge to use an addictive substance. MAT is often associated with opioid use disorders but can be recommended for people in treatment for alcohol addiction as well.

A common misconception about MAT is that it promotes the development of a substitute addiction. It’s understandable to be nervous about prescription medication if you developed an accidental addiction to opioids, but MAT is closely monitored. You can’t get “high” from any of the medications being used and counseling is provided as part of the care plan. The goal is to use MAT as a stepping stone to recovery.

A substance use disorder is a biologically-based disease that affects the brain. If your care provider believes you are a good candidate for MAT, this is no different than taking medication to treat a chronic illness such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

Promoting a Lasting Recovery

True recovery involves more than just abstaining from drugs or alcohol. Achieving wellness means breaking negative behavior patterns and building a lifestyle that promotes total body healing. This includes:

  • Learning how to express your emotions
  • Finding healthy ways to cope with stress
  • Building strong relationships with others
  • Engaging in self-care activities as needed

If you are worried that your behavior patterns suggest the development of a substitute addiction, this is a sign that your continuing care plan should be reevaluated. Behavioral addictions can cause significant distress, so your concerns shouldn’t be swept under the rug. Prompt treatment can help you get back on track with your sobriety.

St. Joseph Institute offers a full continuum of care for individuals with substance use disorders, including access to ongoing support to help you address any obstacles you may encounter in your first year of recovery.

By Dana Hinders

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

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Two men talking“Continuum of care” is a phrase that’s commonly used in addiction treatment, but many people seeking help for a substance use disorder find themselves wondering exactly what this means.

Essentially, continuum of care refers to having a detailed plan for what services a person needs to help him or her stay sober after seeking residential treatment. This is a system where clients are guided and monitored over time as they progress through all levels and intensities of care. In some cases, this approach may be referred to as a “Recovery-Oriented System of Care” (ROSC).

There’s No Quick Fix

The most common misconception about addiction treatment is that detox and a quick inpatient stay are all that is needed to ensure lasting sobriety. Unfortunately, treating addiction is much more complex.

Addiction is widely recognized as an illness, but it’s not like getting strep throat and having your doctor write a prescription for an antibiotic. It’s more like being diagnosed with diabetes and having your doctor recommend diet changes, exercise, and blood sugar monitoring in addition to your medication.

You can live a full and productive life after being diagnosed with a substance use disorder, but you need to stay on top of your recovery. If you become complacent, you put your sobriety at risk.

Personalized Care Is Essential

No two people with a substance use disorder are exactly alike. Someone who has been abusing drugs or alcohol for many years has very different needs than someone who has only recently developed an addiction. Exposure to trauma, the availability of family support systems, and the presence of a co-occurring mental health disorder are also examples of factors that can widely influence what services are necessary after residential treatment.

Depending upon the client’s specific needs, some services that may be recommended as part of the continuum of care include:

  • Ongoing outpatient counseling
  • Intensive outpatient treatment that offers a more intensive counseling experience but still allows the client to return home each night
  • Sober living homes that serve as an interim step between residential treatment and living independently
  • Participating in 12-Step groups
  • Participating in alumni events sponsored by the residential treatment center
  • Online recovery education programs

Steps in the Continuum of Care

Every case is a little different, but the general steps in the continuum of care are as follows:

  1. Assessment: Determine the nature and extent of the substance use disorder, as well as any chronic illnesses or co-occurring mental health conditions that would complicate care.
  2. Treatment Plan: Develop an evidence-based plan for addiction treatment.
  3. Treatment: Use detox, counseling, and holistic treatment to build the skills necessary for long-term sobriety.
  4. Evaluation: Determine how successful treatment has been in helping to break old behavior patterns.
  5. Case Management: Develop a plan for ongoing care, such as intensive outpatient treatment or sober living.
  6. Extended Care: Provide the services necessary to ease the transition into independent living while addressing physiological, psychological, and spiritual concerns.
  7. Monitoring: Periodically check in with the individual to make sure there are no areas of concern.

Notice that the level of support gradually decreases as the client becomes more adept at practicing the skills necessary to manage the chronic nature of a substance use disorder.

Easing the Transition to Independent Living

Although the specifics are different for each individual, the goal of continuum care planning is to ease your transition from the structured environment of residential treatment to an independent sober life.

Your care team will help you determine what support you need to practice applying the skills you’ve learned to everyday situations. This includes:

Your continuum of care plan can help address specific goals you may have for yourself as you embrace the possibilities of a life without drugs or alcohol. For example:

Providing a Roadmap to Recovery

It may be helpful for you to think of the continuum of care in addiction treatment as a roadmap to recovery. You still need to do the work of building the skills necessary for sober living, but this approach provides you with a detailed plan and actionable steps to guide the process.

However, this does not mean that your continuum of care plan is set in stone. If you suffer an unexpected setback, the plan can be adjusted as needed. There’s no criticism or judgement, only a sincere desire to help you find the best way to move forward with your recovery journey.

By Dana Hinders


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rock singerWhen you’re struggling with a drug and alcohol addiction, having sober role models to look up to can help you stay motivated on the path to recovery. If you’re in need of celebrity inspiration, these 7 recovering substance abusers prove that great things are possible when you’re willing to commit yourself to getting the help you need.

1. Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr.’s story is one of the most incredible Hollywood comebacks. After being one of the most popular actors in the late 1980s and 1990s, he became virtually unemployable due to his struggles with drugs and alcohol. He was arrested multiple times, served a year in California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, and lost most of his fortune.

Downey has been sober since 2003, relying on a combination of 12-step programs, yoga, meditation, and therapy to stay clean. His role as Iron Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe officially landed him back on top as an A-list Hollywood celeb.

2. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey was raised in poverty by a single teenage mother, but rose above her early struggles to build a massive media empire and become a notable activist/philanthropist. Her influence is so substantial that she’s often referred to as one of the world’s most powerful women.

Winfrey’s struggle with addiction occurred in her 20s, when a man she was dating introduced her to crack cocaine. She kept her substance abuse disorder a secret until spontaneously offering up the information in a 1995 show featuring mothers battling drug addiction. Today, she continues to remind those in recovery that a better future is always possible.

3. Matthew Perry

Best known for his role as Chandler Bing on Friends, Matthew Perry has struggled with addiction to opioids, amphetamines, and alcohol. He attended several different rehab programs in the late 1990s and early 2000s in search of a lasting recovery.

Since getting clean, Perry has channeled his influence into helping others who struggle with addiction. In 2011, he lobbied on Capitol Hill as a celebrity spokesperson for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. In May 2013, he received a Champion of Recovery award from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for creating Perry House, a sober living home located in his former home in Malibu, California.

4. Drew Barrymore

As a popular child actress in a family of Hollywood legends, Drew Barrymore grew up with easy access to addictive substances. She was drinking at 11, using marijuana at 12, and snorting cocaine at 13. By 14, she entered rehab for the first time.

Barrymore has been sober since her late teen years, crediting her recovery to the network of supportive friends she built for herself after becoming legally emancipated at 15. Since getting clean, she’s branched out beyond acting to become a producer, director, author, and cosmetics entrepreneur.

5. Russell Brand

Actor and comedian Russell Brand has been sober since 2002, crediting transcendental meditation and the Focus 12 drug treatment program with helping him to stay clean. In addition to serving as a sponsor for others in recovery, he’s helped bring awareness to the struggles of addiction with the two documentaries: End the Drugs War and Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery.

Since getting clean, Brand has turned his attention towards political activism and building a family. He married Scottish lifestyle blogger Laura Gallacher in July 2016 and their daughter Mabel was born later that year.

6. Jamie Lee Curtis

Prescription painkiller addiction continues to rise, affecting many people who would never consider touching illegal drugs. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis developed her addiction to painkillers after a cosmetic surgery when she was 35, eventually mixing the pills with alcohol.

Curtis says her addiction developed as a way to self-medicate her depression, but she was inspired to seek treatment after seeing how her substance abuse was affecting her young daughter. She’s been clean for several years and continues to urge those who are struggling with mental health issues to seek therapy.

8. Keith Urban

Country music star Keith Urban has battled drug addiction since the early 1990s. Urban credits his wife, Nicole Kidman, with helping him to finally kick the habit. After witnessing his behavior spiraling out of control in 2006, Kidman staged an intervention.

Since getting sober, Urban has released 14 number one hit songs and served as a celebrity judge on the hit reality singing competition American Idol. He also become a father of two daughters, born in 2008 and 2010.

By Dana Hinders


To learn more about our programs, please call us at 888-352-3297.

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