How Your Environment Can Help or Hinder Your Road to Recovery

Environment plays a huge factor in developing addictions or substance abuse habits, as Adi Jaffe Ph.D. explains in Psychology Today. Environments also play a big factor in how successfully you can recover.

As Dr. Jaffe explains, there are several important factors in your environment that can make addiction more or less likely: Family, Peers, Work/School, and Community. If people close to you have or foster an addiction problem, you are more likely to develop an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or other substances.

Likewise, if you are on or want to be on a pathway to recovering from addiction, your environment is equally critical. If you remain around people who are still struggling from addictions or are using the substances you’re trying to break free from, you will have a much harder time staying on track in your recovery. And people are not the only factor. Physical aspects such as places or even rooms in your house can trigger challenges in your recovery.

If you are on or want to be on a pathway to recovering from addiction, your environment is equally critical. If you remain around people who are still struggling from addictions or are using the substances you’re trying to break free from, you will have a much harder time staying on track in your recovery. And people are not the only factor. Physical aspects such as places or even rooms in your house can trigger challenges in your recovery.

The importance of a healthy environment is one reason why a recovery program like Ridgeview Ranch is life-changing. By going to a recovery facility, you are giving yourself the freedom to be fully present in an environment completely dedicated to your wellbeing and recovery.

Wherever you are in your recovery journey, your environment and the people around you make a difference! Recently, Ridgeview Ranch’s Program Manager, Denise Maupin, was honored and recognized at the Long Beach Recovery Awards Ceremony. Ms. Maupin received awards and certificates from the City of Long Beach, Office of the City Council, Sixth District, the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Alan Lowenthal, and the State of California Senate for her awesome service and dedication to the Recovery Community.

What makes her so successful in changing people’s lives? Ms. Maupin has gone through years of personal recovery and understands what it takes to sustain and maintain sobriety. For that reason, she is dedicated to helping individuals heal and recover from substance abuse in all aspects of life. She goes the extra mile to help individuals achieve healing mentally, emotionally and physically. We’re proud of Ms. Maupin for so tangibly showing our community what it means to make a difference.

Ms. Maupin and the entire team here at Ridgeview Ranch are dedicated to creating an environment that is judgment-free and conducive to recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or substance abuse, we encourage you to find out more about a community who cares and an environment that can help! Call 877-526-7706, or visit ridgeviewranchca.org

Life Beyond Addiction

It’s common to hear stories about celebrities and public figures falling into substance abuse and addictions. But the stories that really impact us – the stories we should care more about – are the stories of recovery. And while the dangers of addiction and substance abuse is very necessary to stay aware of, it’s important to remember that recovery is always possible! If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction right now, it’s important to see the big picture by recognizing people who have recovered even when it seemed impossible.

Success stories:

Jamie Lee Curtis told CNN that she is proud to be almost 20 years sober from her addiction to painkillers. She says her recovery hasn’t been easy but that she thinks it’s important to talk about how possible recovery is. “There really is hope,” she told CNN, explaining that she has worked hard to break a cycle that she has seen destroy families.

We often hear headlines about celebrities spiraling out of control because of drug and alcohol problems, but the comeback stories are the ones that stick with us.

Another inspiring celebrity success story is Robert Downey Jr.’s recovery from a decades-long battle with drug and alcohol abuse. Downey credits his wife Susan with helping him kick his destructive habits by giving him an ultimatum. Downey told the Daily Mail that he stays sober through a combination of yoga, meditation, therapy, and 12-step programs.

While the dangers of addiction and substance abuse is very necessary to stay aware of, it’s important to remember that recovery is always possible! If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction right now, it’s important to see the big picture by recognizing people who have recovered even when it seemed impossible.

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe says that personal insecurities and the pressure of the spotlight led him to spend his 20s struggling with alcohol abuse. Radcliffe says that his alcohol problem took him farther and farther away from the person he wanted to be. He now maintains his sobriety by focusing on exercise, quality time with friends, and reading – one of his favorite hobbies.

American actor Rob Lowe spent much of his life in the habit of wild partying and alcohol abuse. He says that even as a teenager, he had a major drinking problem. But knowing his life was on a dangerous trajectory led him to pursue sobriety, live an inspiring success story, and even receive the Spirit of Sobriety award in 2015. To commemorate being a quarter of a century sober and to inspire those struggling as he had, Lowe tweeted “To those struggling with addiction, there is true, real, hope. Twenty-five years ago today, I found recovery and a life of promise. #Grateful.”

Success can be your story too:

As these recovery success stories remind us, hope is always within reach and it’s never too late to turn your life around. Ridgeview Ranch Treatment Center is committed to providing substance abuse treatment for men and women who are struggling with alcoholism, drug addiction, and co-occurring disorders. Don’t hesitate to find out what hope looks like for you by calling our confidential line at 877-526-7706 or use our convenient Contact form.

Pop Culture’s Responsibility for Displaying Addiction and Substance Abuse

From music to fashion modeling trends, much of pop culture glamorizes substance abuse and addiction, often by drawing a seemingly necessary correlation between substance abuse and fame and success.

This kind of portrayal not only leaves a misguided impression on people who might enter an addiction, but it’s also harmful to the addicts and loved ones of addicts who are navigating the very real and long-term horror of addiction.

Thankfully, some films are taking steps toward a more enlightened view. While A Star is Born might still be glamorizing addiction and substance abuse to some extent, but at least it’s showing some of the nuances of being in a relationship where addiction is involved.

One of the most important things to remember is the harmful effects that substance abuse and addiction have on relationships. At the same time, relationships are often some of the best healing paths for people struggling with addiction, because relationships make it harder for addicts to isolate themselves and makes compassionate intervention more natural. Whether it’s through relationships like in A Star is Born or not, the most important thing pop culture can do is remind us that addiction treatment and recovery are always options.

Because addiction is a disease, recovery isn’t a quick fix, but it is always possible. It’s a challenge to manage an addiction daily, which is why we need to remember to support recovering addicts as they navigate their unique challenge to maintain their relationships, jobs, family lives, and contributions to society. You need to call Ridgeview Ranch and speak with one of our Addiction Specialists today.

Pop culture’s responsibility is to navigate the fine line between showing the hope of recovery but also not watering down the dangers and negative effects of addiction and substance abuse. And while some movies like Requiem for a Dream do portray the authentic dark side of addiction, it also shows the addicts as beyond hope of recovery. Saying that recovery is out of reach is also harmful. Thankfully, culture’s perception is slowly changing, especially with the laws around narcotic possession. Many non-violent offenders are now given the option of going to addiction treatment instead of going to jail.

Whether we are making laws or making movies, it’s important to remember that there is always hope for addiction treatment and recovery.

The emphasis on hope is important in part because again, much of pop culture tends to display addiction or substance abuse as a choice, even as a “party lifestyle.” But once an addiction takes over, it isn’t a decision anymore, it’s a serious medical disease.

Just as the long-term effects of substance abuse are often downsized in pop culture, so are the recoveries, if they are shown at all.

Because addiction is a disease, recovery isn’t a quick fix, but it is always possible. It’s a challenge to manage an addiction daily, which is why we need to remember to support recovering addicts as they navigate their unique challenge to maintain their relationships, jobs, family lives, and contributions to society.

We need to do our best to empower our community towards understanding addiction better by removing both the glamor of substance abuse and the stigma of addiction treatment. If you or a loved one needs compassionate support and effective addiction treatment, we’re here for you with 30, 60, or 90-day Residential Treatment Programs. We believe there is always hope! Learn more by calling (800) 296-1868 or use our convenient Contact form.

Caffeine Overdose is No Joke

We like to joke, post, and wear t-shirts about being a “coffee addict,” or having “caffeine withdrawals,” but according to expert medical sources, it’s a real and very dangerous thing.

Most people know that caffeine is a stimulant that causes various effects on consumers, notoriously causing feelings of alertness by making brain-body messages travel faster. But many people don’t know that this can reach a dangerous – even deadly – level.

Caffeine overdose is rare, but the actual problem most often related to energy drinks or supplements that contain very high levels of caffeine. Overdoses most often occur in children and adolescents who are more susceptible to the effects of the stimulant. Since the conception of online databases, 92 lethal caffeine overdoses have been recorded.

What is considered an overdose?

Caffeine tends to start affecting the body once that the blood system contains more than 15 milligrams of caffeine per liter of blood. A concentration of 80-100 milligrams per liter can be fatal. Keep in mind that consuming too much caffeine happens easier when using caffeine supplements, especially if combined with coffee, tea, sodas, or energy drinks. Medical experts agree that caffeine powder is the most dangerous – just a teaspoon of powdered caffeine can be equivalent to 28 cups of coffee!

How to recognize an overdose

Typical symptoms of caffeine overdose can include very fast or irregular heartbeat, shakiness, nausea or vomiting, chest pain, rapid breathing, confusion, panic attacks, and more. Seek medical advice immediately if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms. The most common cause of death from caffeine overdose is from ventricular fibrillation- when the lower chambers of the heart vibrate rather than contracting regularly. This leads to cardiac arrest.

 How to avoid consuming too much caffeine

Be aware of your caffeine intake by understanding where your caffeine is coming from. Coffee, tea, cola, and energy drinks are the obvious caffeine culprits. But caffeine is also found in many workout supplements, cold and flu medications, chocolate, and other candies. Avoid mixing alcohol and caffeine, or consuming excessive caffeine when pregnant or breastfeeding. It’s advised that children and adolescents shouldn’t drink caffeine, as the full effects of caffeine on developing bodies aren’t fully known yet.

Most people know that caffeine is a stimulant that causes various effects on consumers, notoriously causing feelings of alertness by making brain-body messages travel faster. But many people don’t know that this can reach a dangerous – even deadly – level.

So what is safe?

Medical experts suggest that adults can usually safely consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day as part of their diet (up to five 8-ounce cups of coffee). In addition to talking with your doctor, the key to staying healthy while enjoying caffeine is to understand exactly what you are consuming and paying attention to how it’s affecting you. Don’t forget to spread the word about the dangerous effects of too much caffeine and the surprising products where it’s found.

If you need an effective resource to help with caffeine addiction or overdose, speak with our addiction recovery and rehab specialists: 877-526-7706 or use our convenient Contact form.

How Employers Can Change the Problems of Addiction in the Workplace

Alcohol and drug use addictions in the workplace are wreaking havoc on American companies. Studies show that 20 million workers across the U.S. have reported alcohol-related impairment at work at least once in the past year. Drug abuse and addiction cost American companies $81 billion every year, with 1 in 25 Americans testing positive for illegal drugs in workplace test screens. In addition to the financial impact, these problems are affecting the morale and overall productivity in companies, and even accounting for 10% of workplace fatalities. But perhaps the most disturbing factor is that 75% of alcohol or illegal drug addiction cases remain undetected in the workplace, giving employers no indication to help their employees.

So, as an employer, what steps can you take to start changing these statistics? The first step is understanding how to recognize a problem that needs attention. Some common telltale signs of addiction in the workplace are when an employee:

  • Talks openly about money problems at work
  • Displays a decline in personal appearance or hygiene
  • Complains of failing relationships at home
  • Takes time off for vague illnesses or family problems
  • Disappears from the work premises for extended periods of time
  • Avoids coworkers and friends
  • Irrationally blames others for personal mistakes
  • Shows symptoms of withdrawal that seem to affect job performance
  • Demonstrates an inability to focus or concentrate
  • Takes needless risks that impact the company
  • Conducts sales of illegal drugs to coworkers or engages in other illicit activities

When you recognize the signs of addiction, it’s important that you approach the matter gently and carefully. Threatening to fire an employee will not help them recover from their addiction. Research your resources and consult your lawyer, as dealing with addiction can be legally tricky. Then, approach the employee as a friend and have a conversation. It’s important to offer them an effective treatment as an alternative to their current lifestyle, and it’s helpful to offer a treatment program that you already have in place.

Set up your business for success by proactively planning for abuse detection and treatment with structures such as:

  • Increased awareness and clarified expectations (EAPs)
  • Team awareness and peer-based prevention programs, including web-based programs
  • Regular Drug and Alcohol Screening tests
  • Addiction Treatment programs facilitated by or in the workplace

Help a returning or new employee re-enter the workplace in a way that encourages continual recovery, rehabilitation, and health. Remind them that they’re not alone and be part of helping them change their life. Set the example for office morale, open communication, and less stigma around abuse.As an employer, you can also help employees on the other side of an addiction. Returning to work after addiction treatment – whether it’s to a job held previously or a new workplace – is a challenge for the employee, due to stress around the stigma of abuse. Help a returning or new employee re-enter the workplace in a way that encourages continual recovery, rehabilitation, and health. Remind them that they’re not alone and be part of helping them change their life. Set the example for office morale, open communication, and less stigma around abuse.

If you need an effective resource to help an employee, speak with our addiction recovery and rehab specialists: 877-526-7706

Addiction Intervention – Tips for Success

Recent studies show that 1 in 10 Americans struggles with substance abuse. Many of us know someone who is caught in the trap of addiction. And most of us feel powerless to help. But not only are there effective ways to help, helping is crucial. The courage and compassion to intervene could mean everything and can possibly save the life of your loved one.Recent studies show that 1 in 10 Americans struggles with substance abuse. Many of us know someone who is caught in the trap of addiction. And most of us feel powerless to help. But not only are there effective ways to help, helping is crucial. The courage and compassion to intervene could mean everything and can possibly save the life of your loved one.

What is an intervention?

We often think of interventions as relating to alcoholism or use of street drugs, but interventions are also useful and potentially critical for loved ones dealing with prescription drug abuse, compulsive eating, or compulsive gambling.  Mayo Clinic defines an intervention as presenting your loved one with “a structured opportunity to make changes before things get even worse, and it can motivate him or her to seek or accept help.” It might sound dramatic, but it’s simply a way for loved to express their feelings constructively about the harmful effects of addiction. The goal is to show love, to show that you care enough to say something, and to show that you care about helping your loved one make a critical life change.

When to intervene?

So even if you know that an intervention is necessary, the conversation can be extremely difficult and intimidating. You should always seek professional help when navigating an intervention. Often, an addiction is not openly acknowledged or known. You might feel that you’re overstepping or wrongly accusing. But remember, your decision to show tough love is exactly what your loved one needs. Some indications that an intervention is warranted might include: secretive behavior, borrowing money, aggressive behavior, deterioration of physical appearance, lack of motivation or energy, problems at work or school, or unexplainable health issues. If your loved one is displaying one or more of these factors, you should consider an intervention and professional help.

How to intervene?

No matter how much certainty you feel about your loved one’s addiction, its hard to know where to start with an intervention. Thankfully, there are intervention specialists available to give professional support and guidance. For your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of your loved one, we don’t recommend attempting an intervention alone. A specialist can help you understand the best intervention strategy and help you and your friends and family prepare for both the conversation and the potential pushback. An intervention specialist will also help educate you on addiction recovery so that you are better prepared to successfully support your loved one moving forward.

But don’t be discouraged if the intervention doesn’t go as planned, or if there aren’t immediate results. Recognizing the need for an intervention and asking a professional intervention specialist for help are the first steps. Your brave and loving decision to intervene could save your loved one’s relationships, career, future, and much more. Your intervention could save their life. You’re not alone. Remember to ask for professional help for you and your loved one. Call us 24/7 for confidential and complimentary addition intervention guidance: (877) 526-7706.

Avoid Addiction Relapses by Avoiding Triggers

If you are recovering from addiction, it’s essential to remember that you avoid the situations and mindsets that trigger relapses. A successful recovery happens when you fight triggers by understanding and avoiding them. While everyone’s situation differs, research reveals some common relapse triggers that are helpful to recognize.

  • HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) – Remember to initiate sleep schedules, eating plans, and support groups that help you avoid being HALT.
  • Stress – Understand what causes you stress and proactively prevent stress. Stress management can be as simple as diet changes, exercise, reducing sugar and caffeine, and sticking to three meals a day.
  • Over-Confidence ­­– This is one of the most confusing triggers because a healthy amount of self-confidence is essential to achieving your goals. Over-confidence is thinking you can ditch your recovery plans. Neglecting your rehab structure makes you vulnerable and removes the support that you need. Practice humility, reminding yourself that addiction is a chronic disease that can have power over you if you let it! Don’t’ get sidetracked by thinking you can “have just one.”
  • Mental and/or Physical Illness – Depression, anxiety, and other disorders are some of the most common relapse triggers. When seeking treatment for emotional or physical illnesses, be honest with your doctor about your recovery. This prevents prescriptions that might alter the mental clarity needed to pursue recovery, and potentially trigger a relapse or new addiction. Monitor your feelings to understand if medications are negatively affecting you.
  • Social Isolation – Take extra steps in seeking out to the community through a support system and regular counseling. Without a sober support network, it’s easier to rationalize relapses to yourself when you’re alone.
  • Sex and Relationships – Many experts suggest avoiding dating during the first year of recovery. The excitement of new relationships puts you at risk of relapse, and breakups create breeding grounds for old destructive habits. Relationships can trigger initial addictions to transform into addictions to love or sex. Consider completing a year of successful sobriety before dating.
  • New Jobs or Promotions – Don’t let the opportunity to celebrate cause a relapse. Ask your support group about healthy ways to celebrate. Talk with your counselor about the new role’s potential to increase responsibility and stress.
  • Glamorizing the Past – Don’t let your addiction-prone brain convince you that things were better back then. Be careful not to overlook the pain and suffering that addiction has caused you. Constantly remind yourself why you are choosing the path to freedom and recovery.
  • Harmful Situations or Locations – Avoid surroundings where drugs and alcohol are available or acceptable. This includes old haunts (even visuals and smells) and new places. Be upfront and say you can’t just “meet up at the bar” without serious risk of relapse.

A successful recovery happens when you fight triggers by understanding and avoiding them. Research reveals some common relapse triggers that are helpful to recognize. And remember, you are NOT alone. Ridgeview Ranch is here to help you.

Ruthlessly avoid triggers, even when it’s difficult or awkward. If you sense a trigger, distract yourself through exercise or hobbies, talk to your support network, and challenge your thoughts.

What if you relapse? Remember that you’re not alone. A relapse doesn’t mean it’s over, or that you can’t recover. Compassionate support is available to help you avoid triggers and overcome addiction. Start or continue your recovery today: 877-526-7706

Nutrition and Recovery

The path to good health starts with a balanced diet. This is something we’ve all become familiar with since learning about the food pyramid in our school days. Yet when people think of the steps towards recovery, the prospect of maintaining a balanced diet is the furthest thing from their minds. The reality is that a proper diet can help those on the road to recovery stay focused on achieving their goals.

The path to good health starts with a balanced diet. This is something we’ve all become familiar with since learning about the food pyramid in our school days. Yet when people think of the steps towards recovery, the prospect of maintaining a balanced diet is the furthest thing from their minds. The reality is that a proper diet can help those on the road to recovery stay focused on achieving their goals.

It may come as no surprise that those struggling with addiction tend to have very poor diets. During their battle with substance abuse, an addicted person will often neglect their nutrition, a stable eating schedule, and healthy food becoming less important than fueling their addiction. Addicts will often fall into the habit of failing to eat, eating cheap foods lacking nutrients, or binge eating after coming down from a high. Weight gain or extreme weight loss is often the side effects of such poorly managed diets along with:

  • Depression
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Muscle degeneration
  • Heart rate inconsistencies
  • Weakened immune system
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Electrolyte imbalances

While these side effects can seem overwhelming to manage, they stress the importance of regulating the body’s nutrition.

As we’ve outlined, it’s important for a person combating addiction to strengthen their malnourished body by reintroducing a healthy diet. But the question becomes, where to start? Those who have been abusing alcohol may find that their bodies have become deprived of important vitamins, particularly thiamine which helps with brain, heart, liver, and kidney function. Adding vitamin-rich foods such as dairy products, fruits, peanuts, and plenty of vegetables can help your body function normally.

Opioids can slow down the body’s functions and make people feel sluggish due to a lack of energy. This drug also slows digestion and metabolism, which has the side effect of chronic constipation. A healthy amount of carbohydrates from foods such as whole grains, potatoes, nuts, and beans can help to regulate the blood sugar levels and ease foggy, sluggish feelings. In addition to getting energy from carbs, taking a healthy amount of fiber can help improve digestion. Fiber not only regulates blood sugar and lowers cholesterol, it can also help food move through the digestive system. Oats, nuts, beans, and brown rice are a few examples of foods rich in fiber that can help regulate your digestion.

Those who have been struggling with stimulants such as cocaine, methamphetamines, and crystal meth, are prone to dramatic weight loss. Not only is it likely that they will go for days without eating or sleeping, but those taking stimulants are likely to develop eating disorders such as anorexia. Adding protein and healthy fat to an unbalanced diet can help increase hormones and boost mood. Chicken, eggs, beans, and nuts are great sources of protein while healthy fat can be found in fish, dairy, seeds, and nuts.

Staying hydrated is also key to good health as water protects internal body parts, lubricates joints, and aids the body in putting all those vitamins to use. Dehydration can cause irritability, dizziness, and even fever, so if you’re not a person eager to drink glass after glass of water, you can get hydrated through watermelon, strawberries, cucumbers, or low-sugar sports drinks.

The type of food you eat plays an important role in how your body functions as well as your mental state. When breaking from the grips of addiction, keeping your body nourished while withdrawing can go a long way toward maintaining your overall health. Remember to stay hydrated, take vitamins, and maintain a balanced eating schedule with nutrient-rich foods.

Ready for a New Beginning? Contact one of our Addiction Specialists Today at 877-526-7706 or use our convenient Contact Form. Your privacy is guaranteed.

Veteran Recovery

Ridgeview Ranch knows it’s important to take the time to acknowledge the sacrifices of the men and women in our armed forces. Our courageous men and women in uniform, while symbols of strength and dedication, are also some of our most vulnerable citizens due to the many obstacles they must endure.

As we head into the summer months, you may find yourself planning outdoor activities and get-togethers with friends, but it’s important to take the time to acknowledge the sacrifices of the men and women in our armed forces as well. Our courageous men and women in uniform, while symbols of strength and dedication, are also some of our most vulnerable citizens due to the many obstacles they must endure.

Between struggling with the stress of multiple deployments and the difficulty of reintegration into everyday life, it’s not uncommon for Veterans to return home with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. While PTSD is not an issue exclusive to Veterans (anyone who has witnessed or experienced tragic or startling events can be classified as having this affliction) but enduring warfare and combat makes military personnel more likely to be subjected to it. The stress of dealing with this condition causes many Veterans to turn to substances such as alcohol, illicit drugs, or opioids to cope, creating a vicious and often deadly cycle of dependence.

Studies have shown that approximately 2 in every 10 Veterans with PTSD struggle with addiction and 1 in 4 military deaths can be attributed to substance abuse. While PTSD sufferers use drugs or alcohol to manage their condition, the opposite is far more likely to happen. For example:

  • PTSD sufferers are prone to having trouble falling or staying asleep and often turn to drugs or alcohol to relax, but they can have a negative impact on the quality of sleep and leave sufferers feeling less refreshed.
  • PTSD often creates a feeling of depression and a decrease in self-worth. As many are aware, alcohol is a depressant and can, therefore, increase these negative feelings.
  • Using drugs and alcohol to avoid bad thoughts, memories, dreams, or situations may seem like a way to control PTSD, but avoiding problems means a lack of progress in managing the condition.

While this pattern is alarming, there is hope in the form of treatment. VA facilities have made it easier for servicemen to get help for their addictions as well as their co-occurring PTSD. With individual or group treatments, behavioral therapy, and closely monitored medication, it is possible to manage these afflictions.

At Ridgeview Ranch, we respect and admire the service of our uniformed men and women. The Ridgeview Ranch facility is proud to have recently been approved to become a provider of VA services and will begin implementing drug and alcohol treatment to Veterans. Our staff is honored to be given the opportunity to help military personnel find a healthier path and look forward to working with them in the very near future. If you’re interested in learning more about the type of drug and alcohol treatment services that we offer Veterans in the Los Angeles area and how to obtain these services, please visit:  https://ridgeviewranchca.org/Veterans/. Or if you prefer, call Ridgeview Ranch for a new beginning at 877-526-7706