Maintaining Your Sobriety While Dating

For many people, the transition back into the world of dating after achieving sobriety can be exciting yet slightly stressful or daunting.  Many newly sober individuals feel that romance and relationships are indeed wonderful, but that they can be triggers for relapse if they do not work out.

Dating does not have to be stressful or a trigger for relapse for a sober person.  Although many people associate dating with parties, meeting for drinks, or going to bars and nightclubs, there are numerous other fun activities to do while dating and remaining sober, and many people end up greatly enjoying how to learn to have fun, meet others, and date without the drugs or alcohol.

Dating sober is most effective when meeting people who are like-minded.  Whether it is meeting people through a sober community, meeting for coffee dates or other activities such as running, art, the movies, sports or yoga, sober dating can be a fun and healthy way to remain social and meet other sober people.

Most importantly, when looking for someone to date newly in sobriety, make sure to find someone who is supportive and mature and commends you for your sobriety.  They should not see it as a negative thing, but should recognize that your decision to get sober and stay sober shows that you are a responsible, dedicated and proactive person.

Fetal Alcohol Effects and Syndrome

It is well known that drinking alcohol during pregnancy is a dangerous and detrimental activity to your baby’s health. Unfortunately, many women still do choose to drink when they are pregnant.  If you are pregnant and take a
drink, whether it is a glass of wine, a beer or a cocktail, your baby is
experiencing the same health effects of the same drink.

When a woman is pregnant, whatever she eats or drinks goes directly through the bloodstream into the placenta.  For an unborn child, alcohol interferes with their ability to get enough oxygen and nourishment for normal cell development in the brain and organs. A developing fetus has very little tolerance for alcohol, and infants born to mothers who drank during pregnancy can have numerous serious side effects.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a condition of mental and physical defects which develops in unborn babies when the mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome results in serious handicaps and can require a lifetime of special care for the child. Some effects of drinking during pregnancy are small body size and weight, slower than normal development and failure to “catch up,” deformed ribs and sternum, curved spine and hip, bent, fused, webbed, or missing fingers or toes, limited movement of joints, small head, facial abnormalities, nearsightedness, organ deformities, heart defects or heart murmurs, mental retardation, or severe learning disabilities If you are pregnant and have an addiction to alcohol, Passages can help.

How the Brain Rebounds After Alcohol Abstinence

When an individual decides to give up drinking, there are numerous positive emotional and personal outcomes they can expect. Many people do not realize the psychological and physiological improvements they will experience as well.

In a recent study, scientists have discovered new brain cell development  during abstinence from perpetual alcohol consumption. When alcohol is consumed, it results in detrimental effects on the production and formation of new neurons in the brain. Alcohol particularly affects the region of the brain that controls learning and memory, and the region that is also linked to psychiatric disorders, especially depression. When abused and consumed in excess, alcohol damages the actual brain structure and limits is functions.  This is very apparent in the brains of chronic, long-term alcoholics.

Perpetual alcohol abusers display impairments in the ability to reason, plan ahead or remember.  In the new study, researchers found an inhibition of brain cell development in several alcohol-dependent individuals, and then observed a definite increase in new neuron formation and function after four-to-five weeks of abstinence. These findings are significant in regards to treatment of alcoholism and mental recovery.  Alcohol wreaks havoc on the brain and body, and many times a person does not realize how much it has caused them to mentally deteriorate or how their mental function has been impaired until they actually stop drinking.  At Passages Malibu, we see clients every day begin to experience the countless positive results of alcohol abstinence.

Passages Malibu and Pot

Cannabis (or more commonly known as marijuana, weed, or pot) is a very popular and prevalent drug in the United States.  It is even legal for medicinal purposes in some states; however, marijuana is highly abused.  When an individual smokes or ingests marijuana, the individual will experience distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory.

Several research studies have shown that chronic marijuana users have difficulty learning and decreased memory function, which can last for days or weeks after the actual physical “high” or effects of the drug wear off.  Therefore, chronic marijuana abuser are functioning at a suboptimal intellectual and physical level of capability all of the time.  Many studies also show a direct correlation between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and various mental illnesses.

There are numerous misconceptions about cannabis addiction and treatment and about the actual addictive qualities of marijuana.  Many pro-marijuana users ridicule the idea that marijuana is addictive.  At Passages, we see people addicted to marijuana every day.  Marijuana is a gateway drug, meaning that individuals who abuse it typically drink alcohol more and abuse other drugs, drastically increasing their chances for becoming addicted to numerous substances.  Cannabis has definite withdrawal symptoms when an abuser stops using, which include vivid dreams (caused by the chemical THC), anxiety, irritability, decreased appetite, paranoia, tension and insomnia.

At Passages Malibu, we treat marijuana addiction and provide a medically supervised detox.

Cocaine Addiction and Treatment

Cocaine is currently the most prevalent and abused stimulant in America.  Cocaine abuse and addiction has numerous physical, emotional, mental, and financial consequences.  Cocaine abuse spans across individuals of all backgrounds and situations, whether it be inner-city crack addicts, teenagers, or middle-class suburbanites.

According to the National Institute on Drug Addiction, cocaine abuse actually causes biological changes in the brain due to altered levels of a specific brain protein that regulates dopamine, causing the brain to adapt quickly and to become severely dependent on cocaine. Consequently, the large number of people using cocaine has resulted in a large increase in the number of people seeking cocaine treatment programs.  Treatment of cocaine dependency is complex and should involve a variety of different and diverse treatment methods.

At Passages Malibu, we frequently treat individuals for cocaine abuse and offer over 16 different treatment modalities for our clients.  Our treatment program is tailored to treat the physical, emotional, and psychological damage cocaine has caused through individualized therapy as well as group sessions, physical activity, and a healthy diet plan. With a staff of over 100, plenty of individual attention and an emphasis on professional care, Passages is by far the most comprehensive and effective cocaine treatment center around.

Staying Sober for the Long Term

Staying sober for the long term is a very rewarding experience, yet in order to maintain permanent sobriety there is certain work that must be put in.  The first part of establishing a long-term sober lifestyle is to first and foremost get a firm baseline of physical abstinence from drugs or alcohol.  Once you are detox and physically sober, then it is time to do the emotional and mental work.

At Passages Malibu, once our clients are clear-minded, sober, and detoxed, they are set up with a team of 10 therapists, doctors, nurses, and after care coordinators to match their specific needs.  We focus a great amount of time and effort in your aftercare planning, giving you many resources to use once you are out on your own and beginning your sober journey. We also conduct weekly groups where the focus is about staying sober, and how to achieve lasting sobriety post-rehab.

Many people who complete a drug or alcohol rehab program end up returning to a chaotic and
busy lifestyle afterwards, and it is very important to allow time for rejuvenation.  Yoga, meditation, and regular exercise are great tools for remaining balanced and clear.  It is also very important to maintain an increased awareness of your moods and emotional stability.  If you are getting stressed out at work, or getting anxious, irritable or upset for no real reason, it is very crucial for you to be aware so that you can identify these symptoms and react accordingly.  Many individuals do not recognize these signs of disturbance early on, allowing them to progressively worsen to the point of relapse.  Balance is truly the key to living a happy, healthy and sober life, and at Passages we believe that supportive friends and family, goals, and fulfilling activities are the key to
maintaining long term sobriety.

Staying Sober on a College Campus

Staying sober in college can be a challenging feat. Research studies have shown that roughly half of American college students report binging on drugs and alcohol on a regular basis.  Unfortunately, many college campuses have become heavily influenced by alcohol abuse, in Greek circles and non-Greek circles as well.  Every year, thousands of college students drop out after freshman year due to failing classes because of binge drinking, and the great privilege of higher education is lost solely due to self destructive choices. Some students claim they binge drink due to peer-pressure, while others claim it is to escape the pressure of homework and getting good grades. However, there are many individuals who do not binge drink or abuse drugs in college and there are lots of ways to get through college without drug and alcohol abuse. If you have already attended a drug or alcohol
rehab program and are returning to college, let your family and friends know you need their support to stay clean. There are lots of people you can turn to for encouragement, such as college counselors, professors, your parents and friends.  For someone newly sober, it can be difficult and tempting to stay in the environment where you were used to drinking or doing drugs, but with the right attitude and commitment it is impossible.  Be aware that it is challenging for all college students, whether they have had a past with addiction problems or not, to stay away from substance abuse. Make a commitment to yourself and to your education not to do drugs or drink.  Most college campuses have many sober social events, elective courses, athletic clubs, and many fun activities without drinking or drugs involved.