Entries tagged with “drug and alcohol addiction”.


quit smokingAccording to the CDC, about 15 percent of adults in the United States are smokers. However, smoking rates are significantly higher among people who are also struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.

If you’re considering seeking treatment, you may find yourself wondering if it’s best to quit smoking while you’re in rehab or if you should concentrate on beating one addiction at a time. The answer to this question depends on several different factors, including your own personal recovery preference.

The Link Between Smoking and Recovery

Long term tobacco use can cause a wide range of health problems, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and heart disease. However, the health benefits of quitting smoking can be seen almost immediately. For example, your heart rate and blood pressure will be back to normal within two hours. Within two to three weeks, your blood circulation and lung function should improve enough that exercising or engaging in physically strenuous activity will be noticeably easier.

The traditional thinking was that quitting smoking could threaten sobriety by increasing the intensity of a recovering substance abuser’s cravings for drugs and alcohol. Today, we know this is simply not true. Quitting smoking will not threaten your recovery and may even be beneficial if you’re suffering from alcoholism and strongly associate drinking with smoking cigarettes.

Since nicotine is an addictive substance, the process of quitting smoking is much like conquering alcohol or drug addiction. Use of nicotine replacement therapy via patch, gum, inhaler, or nasal spray can help keep your nicotine cravings under control. The same coping techniques you learn in recovery to handle cravings for drugs or alcohol can also be used to manage nicotine withdrawal.

Stress Relief and Addiction Recovery

For many people, smoking cigarettes is seen as a way to cope with stress. While it’s true that the experience of getting sober can be stressful, this doesn’t mean that you can’t quit smoking if you wish to do so. To some extent, stress will always be a part of your life. Even when you’re sober, you’ll be dealing with stress in your relationships with family, friends, and co-workers or supervisors.

Quitting smoking while in rehab may give you a chance to come up with healthier ways to handle stressful feelings, such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, listening to music, or writing about your feelings in a journal. This experience will leave you feeling more confident and in control of your sobriety after your time at the treatment center has passed.

Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking

Nicotine acts as an appetite suppressant, which is why fear of gaining weight is common among people who are interested in quitting smoking. However, this fear is misguided. The vast majority of people who quit smoking gain no more than five to 10 pounds.

If you’re currently malnourished due to your drug or alcohol addiction, gaining a small amount of weight may be beneficial. If you are already at the right weight for your frame, making a point to exercise regularly and avoid overindulging in sweets or processed foods can help prevent any weight gain related to quitting smoking. Experts agree that fear of weight gain shouldn’t be a deciding factor in whether or not you attempt to quit smoking while in recovery.

Quitting Is a Process

If you’ve tried to quit smoking unsuccessfully in the past, you may think it’s not worth the effort to try again. However, quitting smoking is often a process that requires several attempts to be successful.

A study recently published in BMJ Open suggests that it can take up to 30 attempts for smokers to go for one full year without cigarettes. Often, what works best is when a smoker has a powerful and personal reason to want to quit. Seeking treatment for your alcohol or drug addiction and making the decision to begin a fresh chapter in your life may be the mental “push” you need to kick the habit for good.

Choosing the Approach that Works Best for You

There is no one size fits all treatment approach for addiction. If you desire an opportunity to make a completely fresh start, St. Joseph Institute can help you quit smoking at the same time you address your alcohol or drug addiction. However, if you would prefer to focus on overcoming one addiction at a time, our counselors can help you develop a treatment plan that works for your unique needs.

By Dana Hinders

To learn more about our programs or for a campus tour  of St. Joseph Institute, please visit our website.


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People often ask us “what does faith-based mean?”  “Does it mean that you will be preaching at me?”  “Will I be welcome if I don’t participate in organized religion?” “Can you help me re-connect with my faith?”

These are important questions.  In a world where all-to-often we see people seeking to impose their beliefs on others, it is easy to become apprehensive.  When we hear of people claiming to have all of the answers, we become suspect.  When people are condemned or ridiculed because they do not know what to believe, we fear rejection.

Addiction Recovery through Spiritual HealingHopefully, none of these attitudes or actions will be evident at St. Joseph Institute for Addiction.  We want to help people grow spiritually – discover a sense of purpose and meaning for their lives – but we believe this is a journey that each person must travel on their own.  We encourage, we provide information and we share what works for us, but we believe each person must have the freedom to find his or her own answers.

St. Joseph Institute for Addiction is built on a Christian faith tradition.  We believe there is a God and he cares deeply for each of us.  We believe that Jesus has shown us the path by which to live, love, and find meaning & purpose for life.  We believe that if Christianity is to be real, it must guide the way we live and treat one another day-by-day.

St. Joseph Institute for Addiction is non-denominational.  We do not advocate the teachings of a specific church or theology.  There are many Christian traditions and we seek to draw wisdom from many places.  When we discuss forgiveness, we may recount the teachings of the early church fathers, who lived centuries ago.  If we talk about the need for humility in achieving lasting recovery, we may share the words of Andrew Murray, a protestant minister in South Africa.  At Christmas time we adopt a carol for each day, drawing upon Catholic, Episcopal, Baptist, Lutheran and many other traditions. We encourage our residents to discover the place of worship that feels right for them.

In welcoming people of different backgrounds and beliefs, we do not judge or condemn.  We encourage people to find the answers that will guide their life and give them peace.  It is not for us to judge lifestyles, or condemn the choices people have made.  We educate, share the solutions that have helped others, and help people find a better way when their past actions have led to dead-ends.  Very importantly, we challenge people to allow their spiritual self to heal and grow – for all too often addiction shatters that aspect of who they are.

A story is told of St. Francis who lived in the thirteenth century.  Hundreds of friars had joined his community of believers, and he gathered them together and provided instruction before they spread out across Italy.  The commission he gave them was “go forth and spread the gospel, and when necessary use words.”

The message is that faith is most powerful when it is lived.  I hope that our residents see in the staff of St. Joseph Institute for Addiction a spirit of compassion & concern, a sincere commitment to their healing, and a desire to help them grow to experience more of life’s joy and happiness.  If we do our best in this regard, then we are truly Christian.


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Michelle didn’t seem to take her job too seriously; she was usually 5-10 minutes late, took an excessive amount of breaks and often called in sick, all without remorse. However, she was clearly one of the best saleswomen in the region. Her convivial way with shoppers carried over to managers, to whom she promised she would never show up late again or simply that she would make up for all of her break through record sales. Unfortunately, her tardiness continued and eventually her skills began to deteriorate.

Employee stressed about telling boss he's an addictOne day, Michelle was on one of her many breaks when a coworker came running out and asked, “Where did that lady go who you were helping?” Michelle sat silent and confused for a second, then realized she had brought her to a cash register… and left her there, too focused on her cigarette to remember to ring her up. Turns out that lady had walked out; annoyed with the poor service she had received. And she took her unpaid clothes with her – a hand bag, 2 pairs of jeans, 3 nice tops and 2 pairs of earrings valued at $1035. Michelle was interrogated by her boss and forced to take a mandatory drug test. Her immediate termination was based on the cocaine found in her system, and she was forced to forfeit her final paycheck along with an additional $400 to make up for her drug induced mistake.

The US Department of Labor supplies the following incredible statistics to business owners and managers as a warning:

  • Employees with drug & alcohol problems are 25-30% less productive than others
  • They miss work 3 times as often as their non-abusing coworkers
  • 65% of all work-related incidents are caused by those using
  • Not only does this add stress to the workplace, but it also adds $100 billion in costs to the economy every year

Obviously, businesses cannot afford to ignore the signs of addiction, even when they think there are no other options. So how can owner and managers spot an addict? Here are a few common signs we look for:

  • General inconsistency (effort, showing up, attitude, etc.)
  • Lack of punctuality and excessive nonappearances
  • Lots of breaks throughout the day
  • Judgment mistakes and calculation errors
  • Difficulty remembering requests and concentrating on tasks
  • Anxiety, moodiness, excessive energy or lack of energy, and quick to anger

As a business owner or manager, try not to avoid confronting employees for displaying these signs. Far too often this is done and leads to unnecessary incidents in the workplace. Sometimes it is blamed on personal problems, issues at home or personality traits, when illegal and dangerous substances more often cause it. Addiction cannot go unnoticed.

An easy solution is to implement a company policy to require random drug tests. Inform managers to be on the lookout for the common signs of addiction listed above. It may even be necessary to refer suspicious employees to the HR department or an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) for an assessment and list of places where he/she can get help. Without doing one of the latter, owners and managers are simply enabling the addict and hurting their own bottom line in the long run. So please, keep addiction out of your workplace. It’s good for business.


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