mexican oxy

The Scary Rise of “Mexican Oxy” in Yavapai County: What is it and What You Should Know

What is “Mexican Oxy”?

One of the newest illegal drugs coming to the U.S. right now, Mexican Oxy are characterized as blue pills that are pressed and made to look just like oxycodone hydrochloride tablets, with an M and a 30 stamped on them. The drug is mostly made up of fentanyl, and some reports claim there are high doses of the opiate in the pills, too, making this “oxy” quite lethal.

Fentanyl is the most reported drug in cases of overdose in Arizona, and lethal cases have been on the rise. From 2015 to 2017 alone, the numbers have tripled, surpassing known drugs like heroin. Cases of overdoses from opiates in Yavapai county and beyond continue to rise even with measures taken in the state of Arizona. While fentanyl can be legally prescribed, illegal versions laced with other drugs and substances are causing an epidemic, as well as many deaths.

The drug is reportedly originally produced in China, and its biggest buyers are located in Mexico. Authorities have reported that Mexican oxy has been smuggled into the U.S. through the border, and known cases seem to be focused in the southern area of the country. Arizona seems to be the hot spot for the drug, but they have also been found in other states like Mississippi.

Difference Between Oxy vs. Mexican Oxy

By looking at them, even long-time users of prescription drugs cannot tell Mexican oxy apart from the official pills. Despite the misleading term “oxy” in the name, Mexican oxy is not oxycodone. While oxycodone is a semisynthetic drug, produced in a controlled environment and therefore more predictable when it comes to its side effects, Mexican oxy is the complete opposite.

As mentioned before, Mexican oxy contains high levels of fentanyl, mixed with other substances as well. Some have gone as far as calling fentanyl “100 times stronger than morphine”, as the drug has been linked to the death of even famous people, like Prince. When speaking of these opiates, Yavapai county Sheriff Lt. Nate Auvenshine explained: “There’s less stigma to taking a pill than putting a needle in your arm, but one of these pills can have enough fentanyl for three people.”

Police have reported that the amount of fentanyl found in these pills range from 0.03 to 1.99 milligrams, which means it is either almost nothing or actually lethal. So a user can either be a victim of a scam or a victim of the drug and taking a chance can be too high a price to pay. This also is a sign of lack of quality control, confirming that these pills are not done in a lab, and maybe not even produced by the same manufacturer. It is becoming a lucrative business, which is a terrible sign.

Symptoms

While the amount of fentanyl with each pill varies, the symptoms from taking it and from withdrawal should be the same as fentanyl. It is also important to remember these are not pure drugs, either, so other substances might be found in these pills and could make it stronger, or cause a reaction that can result in the collapse of the user’s system.

Someone taking fentanyl might experience the following, which are more common:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and stomach pain
  • Constipation and/or gas
  • Sedation
  • Breathing problems
  • Unconsciousness
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Difficulty urinating

These are just some of the milder side effects from taking the dreaded drug alone, even in controlled, temporary doses – so there’s a higher chance of experiencing that and even more with bigger doses for longer periods of time. As for the other drugs this version of illegal fentanyl might be laced with, each of them would cause a different reaction, so it could be hard to predict their side effects.

People who have not taken the opiates found in Yavapai county and other counties should not take this epidemic lightly. Being an addict in the state of Arizona can put anyone at risk of coming in contact with Mexican oxy, and what is scarier is that they might not even know they are taking it. There have been registered accidental overdoses and deaths caused by the drug where users thought they were taking oxycodone.

New Drug, Same Treatments – And We Have Them All

If you or a loved one are facing addiction right now, especially in the state of Arizona, you could one day come face to face with the killer drug. Whether the problem is an addiction to oxy or actual fentanyl, each year new drugs are smuggled into the country or created right here, and it becomes more dangerous to sustain the habit with each passing day.

The best way to be safe from Mexican oxy is to get rid of addiction once and for all. It might take a few tries, and it might take a whole team, but help is available for those who need it the most. We at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare aim to be just that – a helping hand in the fight for life. We believe in not living with shame, and lifting up our patients through our programs.

If you’d like to know more about how someone can finally free themselves from addiction through our services, visit our website and contact us for more information at your convenience. We will gladly answer any questions and walk you through the process that has saved many lives.

References:

dual diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis: What is it? Am I a Candidate for Treatment?

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

As the name suggests, dual diagnosis describes patients that have been diagnosed with two different disorders: one being a mental disorder, like depression or bipolar disorder, and the other, a substance abuse problem, which could be alcohol or drugs. Since most people with a mental disorder can have quite easy access to both, it is not unlikely for them to develop a dependence on these substances.

More often than not, a lot of people will actually try to find comfort or a way to numb the pain by drinking or using drugs, so those two walk hand in hand quite frequently. In fact, a national survey done in 2014 revealed that 7.9 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from both a psychiatric disorder and an addictive disorder. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 6 out of 10 addicts also have another disorder – that is a 60% chance that an addict is a dual-diagnosis worthy patient.

It is still not possible to say why mental disorders and addictions tend to coincide more often than not, but there are many theories and studies to try to understand dual-diagnosis patients. It seems as though one affects or triggers the other, no matter which one is apparent first. While children and teenagers with psychological disorders (such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are considered at higher risk of becoming addicted than other children, it seems drug abuse alone can also accelerate the course of mental illnesses. Either can come first when it comes to dual-diagnosis addicts.

Symptoms

Dual-diagnosis patients can be diagnosed with a number of different “combinations” of disorders. Therefore, symptoms will vary a lot from person to person, depending on which substance they are addicted to and which mental disorder they have. While keeping in mind that a lot of symptoms from withdrawal are also common in mental disorders (anxiety, depression, and even hallucinations, for instance), some symptoms or signs to look out for are:

  • Going overboard when consuming drugs and/or alcohol or doing it too often
  • Putting themselves in risky or dangerous situations (especially worse if doing so by impulse)
  • Changing behaviors and routines drastically
  • Noticing symptoms unrelated to the withdrawal of alcohol or illegal substances alone
  • Symptoms that won’t go away after getting treatment for addiction
  • Social isolation or generally avoiding events that used to bring pleasure
  • Family history of either one of the conditions (substance abuse and/or mental illness)
  • Difficulty accepting, starting, or following instructions for treatment
  • Not managing to do daily tasks like proper personal hygiene or groceries
  • Be aware of a change in thought processes: if they become too incoherent, disillusioned, or too dark, bordering or becoming suicidal

It is because so many of the symptoms tend to overlap between disorders that addicts need to receive a proper diagnosis in order to know how to proceed when seeking the right treatment for them. Each disorder requires its own kind of treatment, and not just because they are separate illnesses. One of the main problems is that they affect each other mutually, meaning that if one is not treated correctly, it could bring on symptoms of the other – especially in the case of not treating the mental illness, as it could be the root of the consumption of substances.

Besides keeping an eye on the symptoms listed, in order for you to know whether you might be a dual-diagnosis patient, you might need to visit different types of specialists. While drug or alcohol abuse can be considered a mental illness in and of itself, it requires different approaches to treatment than, say, borderline disorders. For instance, while anxiety can be a symptom of withdrawal, chronic anxiety is different, more persistent, and not just related to substance abuse, so it needs to be treated accordingly.

Treatment and Prevention

Dual-diagnosis cases can be treated in many different ways, and while the diagnoses are an obvious factor to be considered when being treated, other aspects of the patient will dictate which treatment option would be best for them. Age, family history, drug intolerance, type of substance, frequency and amount of use, drugs previously used in treatments – all of this must be taken into consideration.

One of the methods commonly used along with other programs is behavioral therapy. Most of them focus on changing habits and frequent thought processes that might bring a patient to harmful behavior as well. While that alone cannot be the only method applied to help dual-diagnosis patients, it has proven quite effective when included in programs. Additionally, some of the other techniques used are detoxification (when needed), group therapy, and any medical supervision recommended.

Prevention is also possible, and even from an early age. Receiving early diagnosis of a psychiatric illness such as ADHD, anxiety, or depression can help not just to get treated for the disorder, but it can actually prevent the development of a substance abuse problem, as it is almost impossible to prevent exposure. Early exposure, in fact, has proven to be a trigger, so being mindful and careful of that might also lower the risks of someone becoming addicted.

You Can Get The Help You Need With Us

At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, dual-diagnosis patients can count with all the help they need when getting rid of their substance abuse problem for good. While it might seem like so much work right now, as you have to deal with two different issues, it is achievable. If you have tried methods before and they failed, this does not mean you are hopeless. Relapse is quite common, especially in dual-diagnosis cases, but they are not a sign of weakness – they just mean you need to keep trying.

We will be more than happy to meet with you and find out what your needs are, so we can work on a plan that will work for you. We offer outpatient programs that are essential for anyone who might need to keep on with their routines, no matter the reason. While dual-diagnosis patients need to look out for two different illnesses and seem to have to do double the work, we also offer a special Recover Strong program, which will additionally help with self-image and self-esteem while also providing a way to improve your social life – one less thing to worry about.

So whether you know this program interests you or you just want to hear more about the benefits we offer, contact us today. Visit our website for all the needed contact information. We are here to help: no matter how many hoops you need to go through, we are here to see you get to where you need to be on the trip to a healthier you.

References:

IOP in Arizona

IOP Treatment for Alcohol Abuse in Arizona: How to Know if This is the Best Choice

Yes, getting rid of alcohol can be a tough ride and have many bumps down the road, but it can be easier with the right people supporting you. At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, we hope to be that help to anyone who needs it. There are a number of programs to choose from, and each of them planned out to cover all the bases needed in your journey to recovery.

What is IOP Treatment?

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are one of the options available for the recovery of alcohol and drug abuse. In this type of program, a patient will have the possibility of keeping their routine as is, since it is not full-time, and they won’t have to stay in the facilities for the treatment. It is only a certain number of hours a week, and there are often multiple options that you can pick from according to which fits your schedule best.

IOPs usually rely heavily on group therapy sessions and support, with additional individual case management. This is a great way to not just deal with the symptoms, physical, and emotional toll of getting clean, but it gives you an opportunity to work on social interaction in the process. IOP alcohol treatment will allow you to get to know other addicts going through the same process, giving you a chance to learn new ways to cope, to deal with the side effects, and to try to get your life back on track.

It is important to keep in mind that this method is usually recommended for people that do not require detoxification and/or, obviously, 24-hour medical supervision. While it has been proven to be effective, some cases require more time dedicated to therapy, treatment, and IOP alcohol treatments might not provide everything someone in a more intense scenario might need. There are a number of alternatives for different types of cases, so be sure to compare well among your choices in order to ensure that you will choose what is right for you.

What are the benefits of IOP treatment?

Well, as mentioned before, since IOP treatment does not demand that the patient stays in the rehabilitation clinic of their choice 24/7, this can be the perfect choice for those that need to go to work, school, or can’t spend a full day focused solely on their treatment. This is especially interesting for anyone that does not want to feel like they are putting everything on hold – which can be an excuse to not start on a recovery program.

Knowing what you will have to go through can also help decide whether IOP alcohol treatment is the way to go. Some of the symptoms from alcohol withdrawal might be:

  • Sweaty, clammy skin and pallor
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Altered/rapid heartbeat
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings, anxiety, nervousness, depression
  • Fatigue
  • Unclear mind

These are some of the most common symptoms, which are usually seen in all levels of withdrawal. However, the most severe cases can cause even fevers, hallucinations, or seizures. Symptoms can start in 6 to 12 hours from the moment an addict stops drinking. Therefore, when picking the right treatment for your alcohol abuse problem, consider the type of support you might need. IOP alcohol treatment is more intense than your usual outpatient programs, but inpatient programs should not be ruled out right away.

Nevertheless, a number of studies have been done on the effectiveness of IOP treatments, and research shows that it works just as well as other inpatient and outpatient options when followed correctly. They could also be a great fit for those who need a treatment that’s more intense than outpatient alcohol treatments. IOP alcohol treatments have become so commonly sought that most insurance companies will cover it (at least partially), and they are even often required by judges in order to reduce the chances of recurrent convictions.

Alcohol Abuse in Arizona

Another reason why IOP alcohol treatments might be a great choice for someone in Arizona is because it will give the patient a way to work on and improve their social life. Arizona was the 4th state with the largest number of deaths from alcohol poisoning in the U.S. in 2015. In a state where drinking is so excessive that it has become a problem, having the right people around you can make a difference. Receiving the treatment you need for your substance abuse issue is incredibly important, but being a part of a community that supports a clean lifestyle is just as vital for a former addict to stay that way.

While the age group that sought help more often in 2015 were people from ages 26-30, the age group 31-35 was not too far behind statistically. Considering that the legal age for drinking is 21, this means people have reached the point of needing help quite fast in the state of Arizona. As for gender, the number of men and women seeking help is almost equally divided, with 53% of patients being male, and 47% female.

Help Is Here If You Need It

On the topic of being a part of a healthy social environment, not only do we offer outpatient alcohol treatments, but we also have our very own Recover Strong program. This program has been designed to tackle both the social and physical aspects of a patient’s lifestyle, bringing both together into one plan focused on the neuroscience of movement. While you work on social interactions, you will also have a chance to improve self-image and self-esteem, both of which are vital in order to endure recovery.

Whether you or a loved one need to take that first step towards leaving substance abuse behind for good, we can guide you through what would be best for your needs. Visit our website for any information you might need to contact us and learn more about what we can do for you. We are happy to meet and answer any and all questions you might have to make the decision that can turn your life around.

References:

Opioid Withdrawl

What to Expect When You’re in Recovery for Opiate Addiction

What are Opiates?

In more technical terms, “opiate” is used to describe drugs that are derived from opium, which in turn, are obtained from opium poppy seed. They are more popularly known as opioids and are prescribed to help patients deal with pain. Classified as what people call as “downers”, they work by suppressing the pain felt as the brain’s pleasure systems are controlled.

While prescribed opiates like morphine or hydrocodone can be perfectly safe in controlled doses for short periods of time, using it for too long and without the proper medical attention might put you at risk. It is not uncommon for addicts to start with legal, prescription drugs, and some even only take legal ones as their addiction gets worse. The main problem is how freely they can be prescribed in America, and how easily they can fall into the wrong hands because of that.

Other opiates besides prescription ones such as heroin are even more dangerous. For starters, when compared to morphine, heroin reaches the brain much faster and it is about three times more potent. And the fact that it is a synthetic drug makes its side effects less predictable, so taking any amount whatsoever could go horribly wrong.

Opiate Detox – Withdrawal Symptoms and What to Expect

No matter how you came about using opiates, opiate recovery is achievable, but it is not easy. Dependence of opioids is chemical and even physical, too. This means that, as you fight to get better, some of the symptoms you’ll experience through the process of opiate addiction treatment can make you feel physically worse. Some of the possible symptoms are:

  • Muscle pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sweats, chills, and tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

It is hard to tell which symptoms each patient will have to deal with during their recovery from opiates: it all depends on the drug taken, the dose, the frequency, and even the person’s own system. Those symptoms can last up to a week or even more, and may start in just a few hours after the last dose is taken. Dealing with withdrawal on your own is possible, but there is a higher chance of relapse.

Just like it is with the symptoms, opiate addiction treatments will also vary from person to person. There is not just one right way of getting the help needed, and everyone responds differently to each method. It is important to know all of the options out there because if one of them does not work, there is no need to despair – and much less to give up.

Long-Term Healing from Opiate Addiction

While you can take medication to help with withdrawal symptoms (which should also be done through a health care provider or clinic and not be self-prescribed), that alone will not be a permanent solution to opiate addiction, and shouldn’t be considered a full treatment. Opiates recovery is also not a linear process, it is full of ups and downs, and that is something important to keep in mind.

Just because one type of treatment did not work, this does not make someone hopeless. Being honest with yourself when picking an opiate addiction treatment is also vital, because limits and triggers are all personal, and play a big role into what method should work better. Of course, each kind of treatment will have its pros and cons, and will not be perfect. So finally, another factor to consider would be what your priority is in terms of daily life, medical support, financial options, etc.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment requires staying in the facility of the rehabilitation center chosen for opiate addiction treatment. This would mean 24-hour medical, psychological, and emotional support, which is quite recommended in worst case scenarios. Programs usually last at least around 28 days, but do not tend to prolong too much in most cases.

Outpatient Treatment

The outpatient programs for opiate addiction treatment gives the patient the possibility of keeping their routine as close to normal as possible, as they only have to go to the facility for treatment during the day for a few hours per week. However, this would mean that most support would come from social groups or would happen during the time the patient is in the clinic. Therefore, it is best for mild addicts, as more serious situations might require closer attention.

Recover Strong: How Granite Behavioral Health Retrains Your Brain

The Recover Strong program is part of the opiate addiction treatment and is offered as part of the transformational process at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare. It is based on the neuroscience of physical exercise as a way to stimulate neuroregeneration by improving the capacity to handle stress, cognition, and reducing anxiety and/or depression symptoms. Additionally, this is done in a group setting, which also helps with social engagement and interaction, while also helping issues with self-esteem and self-image.

We Are Here to Help You With Your Opiate Addiction

We understand how it can be scary to go through all of this, but what is important is that there is an option to not go through it alone. It does not matter where you are in your journey with addiction, or even if you have relapsed. At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, you can get all the medically recommended aid needed for opiate recovery and get to work on even more than that, in order to make this improvement a permanent one. Our philosophy is not just based on becoming independent, but also, on becoming empowered.

If our Recover Strong program – a differential between ours and others opiate addiction treatments – seemed like a great fit for your needs, do not hesitate to contact us. We will give you all the details about this program as well as all the information you might want about how we can help you on your journey to recovery.

You can reach us online by visiting our website or get all the other contact information you might need here. You could be just one click away from finally receiving the help you need and truly deserve.

References:

Out Of Town Treatment

When It Comes To Addiction Treatment: Stay To Closer To Home… Or Travel Out Of The Area For Treatment?

Here’s the scenario: Either yourself or a family member (or loved one) has made the COURAGEOUS decision to seek out professional treatment for their alcohol or substance abuse addiction.

Now the question becomes: Should this person seek out treatment close to home… or are there benefits to traveling out of state for treatment?

This is a question that comes up on almost every call we receive at our treatment center

There are many logical benefits to consider out-of-city (or even out-of-state) treatment centers, to include:

  • Experiencing a true “fresh start”

  • Creating distance between the person & areas where they “used”

  • Removing “easy access” to substances

  • Building new, healthy habits in a new environment

… and many more.

All of these are valid to an extent.

In addition to the “common sense” benefits listed above, there are scientific & psychology-backed theories supporting a change in one’s environment while undergoing substance abuse treatment.

Now… before I continue… 12-Step advocates (which includes myself) may be thinking: A change in environment is not the ONLY solution (or variable to consider) in long term recovery from alcoholism and substance abuse disorders.

The PERSON must undergo a profound inner change for success which is not (necessarily) ONLY accomplished by changing the environment he/she is in.

That said… let’s look at some of the psychology-based theory behind why this change of environment is (in my and other professionals’ opinion), a very good plan.

We can’t talk about any recommendations on early treatment choices without covering two primary hurdles every substance abuser grapples with in early in recovery: 1) Cravings and 2) Triggers that lead to cravings.

A craving, simply defined, is a strong (almost overpowering) urge or desire for something.

A trigger is defined as a cue… possibly a person, place, thing, could be a smell, certain lighting, tv show, or anything… that brings about a memory of something.

So let’s combine these two nuisances and look at their role in a person in early stage recovery from a substance use disorder.

The Cue Reactivity theory proposes that a craving “is viewed as a multidimensional response to a variety of stimuli paired in the past with substance intake” (Kouimtsidis, 2000, p.299). [Which is a fancy way of saying: When a person with a substance use disorder encounters something (a cue) that is attached someway (a memory) to that person’s history of using… there can be a complex response to it.]

Examples of this reaction caused by a craving can be:

  • A sudden, irrational, & overpowering urge to use

  • Obsessive thoughts about a substance or use for a period of time

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Increased heart rate

  • Sweating

  • Feelings of euphoria or dysphoria.

The point is: Cravings are strong & extremely complex.  

In fact, in early recovery, they are one of the most common causes of relapse.

They can be so all-encompassing, they’re routinely compared to “temporary insanity”, where all logical & rational thought disappears and the person seemingly loses control of their decisions/behaviors, making unpredictable/illogical choices such as going back to substance use and risking death.

And here’s the thing: Triggers can and will happen anywhere… and in some of the most unexpected ways.

A change of environment helps to reduce/limit them, but it doesn’t prevent them completely.

Circling back to the common-sense part of this concept… people in early recovery have a better chance of long-term recovery if they are able to avoid triggers and limit cravings as much as possible while they build the necessary skills and resources to abstain from mood-altering chemicals.

So yes, it is our opinion that it’s a healthy decision to ensure the person suffering from addiction removes themselves spacially & geographically (out of town) and create enough space between them & their usual “triggers”.

A treatment center that specializes in substance use disorder treatment, which includes a reputable, clinical component can help the sufferer manage both their reaction to triggers, as well as strong cravings.

In fact, this is a vital part of a successful treatment program whose sole focus is long term recovery for the sufferer.

Finally… you simply need to ensure they enroll in a safe and reputable treatment facility’s program.

Please feel free to call us at … or email us at … with any questions you may have about substance abuse treatment.

Kouimtsidis, C. (2000). Role of craving in substance misuse. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 13(3), 299-303-299-303.

Sobriety Is The Best Gift I Gave My Family

Counting My Blessings

I am a father, a son, and a brother, I have two daughters of my own. Funny thing being a son, as a son I just thought about what I wanted out of life, what was next for me. As I became a young adult, I never really thought about much more than that, I guess that’s just part of growing up. Now a days, I am father too, I have a 2-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old daughter. When I look at my daughters I see all of the amazing possibilities, my oldest loves science, has a great sense of humor, my youngest is just developing her little personality and interests, and man she is full of life. All I see is endless possibilities for them and it is very exciting.  I truly have a great life, I own a business and I love what I do, I make a good living doing it. I have cool hobbies and great friends. I can actually say I am living the dream! The life I lead today is better than I ever dreamed it could be 7 plus years ago, that’s for sure! I could list the gifts sobriety has given me and write paragraph after paragraph, however instead I am going to write a bit about the gifts my sobriety gave to those I love, particularly my father.

Looking Back…

7 plus years ago, life was very different. I was heavily addicted to oxycodone, Xanax, alcohol, and crack cocaine. I was a father to my oldest daughter in no other way than title. She couldn’t count her dad for anything, no one could. It had been this was since I was 12 years old. It wasn’t so bad when I was 12, but it got worse as I got older. At 30, no one wanted to be around me and I for one don’t blame them. My parents were forced to watch as their son, whom they loved, destroyed himself and anything around him. Now as a dad of young children, I can tell you that when your kids are young their problems are mostly solvable by a hug and maybe a small consequence if a discipline is needed. But for the most part parents can step in and save the day, just as we want to. But as a child gets older they have to solve their own problems and learn to become an adult. Often time that’s when problems start to arise that parents all together can’t solve, addiction being one of them. I have yet to experience what it is like to watch one of my children suffer from addiction and stand by helplessly as they risk death or God forbid die. Just typing it here terrifies me. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my kids.

Cleaning Up My Act

So, 7 years ago, fearing for my life my parents, yet again, spent their hard-earned money to send me to treatment as I suspect they feared the alterative was a funeral. I went to treatment mostly because I was homeless and no one really wanted me on their couch anymore. It wasn’t until a phone call with my dad that I actually started to want to change. I called home feeling the obligation to check in since they were paying for treatment. We talked about the normal stuff and I began to tell my dad that I was doing well and things were different this time, all the stuff I thought he wanted to hear. He stopped me and said he really hopped that was true. There was pain in his voice, deep pain. He then went on to talk about how he missed having a relationship with me, how he had hoped that he and I would have had an adult relationship like he had with his father. He talked about his sister and how her children were doing well but most importantly were happy. He talked about after all his success he sat in his chair at night depressed because his children were suffering and he didn’t know how to fix it. The pain behind his voice cut like a knife. It brings me to tears to write about it, I can still feel the pain like a 1000 pounds of bricks on my chest. He deserved better, he was a good dad, he provided well, played with his kids, made mistakes as all parents do but cared and deserved better as he neared retirement. He deserved a son, a son that called to talk, that he didn’t have to worry about planning an early funeral for, a son that he could trust would be able to be there for him if he needed him, a son that he could think of and feel joy, not pain. It was in that moment that I decided my dad deserved better, I wanted to be that son. People will say you have to do recovery for yourself but that’s not my story. I did it for my dad and eventually I did it for my dad, my mom, and my daughter. Then finally, one day after over a year of doing it for others, I looked at myself in the mirror and for the first time liked who I saw and decided I was worth doing it for myself too.

I can tell you this, I am not a perfect son, father, brother, or friend in sobriety, but my father has his son back. My daughter has a real father who shows up and loves her, when friends see me they want to spend time with me, I bring value to my friendships. Today I have my self back. You could look at my life and see the many overt gifts sobriety gave me: a nice house, a great career, cool hobbies like restoring classic cars or backpacking trips, but the best gifts I ever received in sobriety are the gifts that my sobriety gave to those I love. They gave a father his son back.


To get help for substance use call us today at 1.844.878.3221 or contact us through our website

3 Ways To Hack Your Fitness Motivation

Making Time For A Necessary Part Of Your Routine

Maintaining an active lifestyle and exercising is essential for overall health and well-being.  This is especially true for those in recovery. This should come as no surprise to anyone reading this article.  Why then, do so many people struggle to make time to exercise? Why is it so easy to skip the gym at the end of a long day?  I will present you with three methods I have employed over the years to stay engaged with my fitness programs that will also help you to maintain a more active lifestyle.

Before exploring the three hacks for motivation, I want to dispell a myth about motivation so let’s examine what motivation is and what it isn’t.  I define motivation as a temporary drive or ambition to accomplish a goal or task which is usually accompanied by a general sense of excitement about the goal.  The myth I’d like to dispell is that motivation is an essential ingredient of accomplishment. In fact, motivation merely gets us moving toward a goal. It will not be sufficient to help us achieve it.  Why is this you may be asking? The key word in the above definition is “temporary.” Feelings of motivation in a person most often last for no longer than 3-4 weeks. Therefore they cannot carry us to our fitness or any other goals.  Motivation may get us to join a gym or sports league, but it doesn’t last long enough to adopt a change in lifestyle. How then are we to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves? Habit, fun, and connection. Read on to find out how these three words apply:

  1. Habit: There are many great quotes about habit my favorite was written long ago by Aristotle, “We are what we repeatedly do.  Success is not an action but a habit.” Our habits unconscious or otherwise form the very foundation of the life we end up experiencing.  All animals on this planet by their nature seek to expend the least energy possible to get the greatest reward. This fact makes it easier to maintain bad habits than to replace them with good ones.  In fact, if we do not consciously choose to adopt the habits that move us closer to our goals, we will have unconsciously accepted the habits which don’t. The first step in forming the habit of having an active lifestyle is to choose to move in that direction consciously.  Next, we need to create one or more SMART goals. That is goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Too often we approach fitness with the mindset of wanting to “get in shape,” “lose a few pounds,” or to “get stronger.” While these are all reasonable ambitions they are not specific, measurable, or time-bound and therefore they are not achievable.  They are doomed from the start. Instead, we want to be very specific in our vision for example; I will lose 15 pounds by September 23, or I will run a 4:00 marathon in the marathon in October. Assuming these goals are achievable in the time allotted they are good specific goals. When setting goals, we make an inner commitment to ourselves that we will see that part of the journey through.  If you are just starting out on your journey to fitness, I suggest setting goals with a 60-90 day time horizon. Most studies have found that it takes between 45-60 days of consistent effort to form a habit. By the time your first set of goals have run their course you will have developed the habit of being active.
  2. Fun:  Being active should be fun.  It should very rarely if ever feel like work. Instead, it should feel like play.  If you are having fun engaging in an activity, you are substantially more likely to keep participating.  If you love running then, by all means, do it. If however, like most of us, you find running to be some sort of controlled torture (just kidding, runners I love you), it would be wise to discover an activity you truly enjoy.  From a physiological and neurobiological point of view what is important is to elevate your heart rate to the 65%-85% of max heart rate for at least 150 minutes per week. This level of exertion is experienced as breathing heavy without being winded.  Or if you are thinking “this is hard, but I could do it for a while” you are most likely in the right zone. Nowhere in any research, I have ever come across does it specify what type of exercise one needs to partake in. If you love the gym, go to the gym.  Love the outdoors, go for a hike, or a swim, or rock climbing. The key is that you enjoy what you are doing. Find an activity you love, and it will never feel like work again, it will feel like play.
  3. Connection: Human beings have evolved to function within communities and to crave connection with others.  It is one of our most basic drives. We can leverage this to our advantage in trying to adopt an active lifestyle.  Find a community to join and become a part of it. Team sports are fantastic for this, so are martial arts, hiking clubs, CrossFit Boxes, etc.   When part of a community we get support and motivation from those around us. They are there to celebrate our victories and to support us after defeats.  As we develop relationships with others, we begin to feel a deeper connection to the activity itself making it harder not to show up. The desire to show up for others is often stronger than the desire to show up for ourselves.  As a part of a community of people who share similar interests, we form relationships that enrich us not just in our chosen activity but throughout our entire lives.

I hope that these motivation hacks are helpful and encourage some of our readers to pursue a more active lifestyle and to stick with it.  The mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of being active are so many and so profound they should not be missed by anyone. Consciously choose to have the life you want, as our friend Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.  Success is not an action but a habit.” Create the success you desire.


We at Granite Mountain BHC are here to help.  If we can help answer any questions or concerns, please reach out.  We can be contacted through our website or by phone at 844-878-3221.

Until next time

Your friend in Service,

Rob Campbell


Contact us today for help with substance use disorder

3 Lessons Learned Coping with A Loved One’s Addiction

Looking Back On The Trouble and Turmoil

Several years ago we had two members of our family hit their respective bottoms in rapid succession. For me, this was a brand new experience. Of course, I had put my family through the turmoil, horror, and pain of dealing with the consequences of my own alcoholism 12 years earlier.  Until I had the experience first hand of watching a family member go through their struggles with addiction, I didn’t have the empathy or compassion necessary to really understand the anguish I had caused those that loved me. For me personally, this was a very challenging time while at the same time it gave me a deeper appreciation of the pain caused by addiction to those who are bound by affection to an addict.  This has been an inspiration in my work and in my personal life. Below is a bit of that story.

At the time I was working for a Fortune 100 company managing an office of approximately 65 salespeople and staff, I had a young family with a wife and daughter, as well as, many community and recovery based commitments. The first thing I learned during this time is that life is not put on hold so that you can better meet the challenge.  On a typical day, I would talk to 3 generations of my family about our loved one before making it to my office in the morning. I would help my Grandmother try and understand that addiction is a disease that her loved ones were suffering from and that there was nothing she could do to change that, and most importantly that it wasn’t her fault. I would try to counsel my mom on how best to set limits and support her resolve to do so regarding family. On most days I would talk to 2-3 more relatives all before attempting to get through my workday productively and show up in the evening for my family. I was often left feeling like the guy in the old Vaudeville act where he runs up and down the stage spinning plates on sticks. The minute he seems to get them all spinning one begins to wobble, so he runs down to the other side of the stage and sets the wobbler spinning again. He breathes a deep sigh only to need to sprint to the others side of the stage to catch the next plate which has begun precariously wobbling itself. The strain was causing me to start to wobble.

Many days I found myself too emotionally drained to be productive or present. Often I had trouble falling asleep at night. I would lie in bed worried about my family, and unable to let go of the stress and strain.  I wasn’t exercising enough, and my eating habits weren’t great. In short, I wasn’t taking care of myself.

Getting The Right Help, And How It Happened

After being in long-term recovery for many years, I still found myself overwhelmed by the stress of coping with a loved one who was suffering from addiction.  I found it extremely hard to balance the demands of life during this time of crisis and transition. The great news is both my family members were able to get the help they needed.  They are both now in long-term recovery themselves and are doing great. Our family moved forward together and now are closer than ever. The experience taught me, and I’d like to share some of that with you.  Please find below a short list of lessons learned, and things I might do differently if this were to happen again.

  1. Absolutely, manage your own self-care. Take care of yourself emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. As much as possible get enough sleep. Exercise regularly for both the physical and psychological benefits.  Eat well. In short, do everything you can to make sure your needs are taken care of. To take care of anyone else, we must take care of ourselves.

  2. Pursue your own healing. Addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  Most likely if a family member is symptomatic with addiction there is unprocessed trauma or stress within the family system.  If true, this is affecting all members of the family. We may find ourselves so preoccupied with our family members that we are unaware of the true nature of our own emotional and mental state.  Engaging in your own process of healing not only will help you personally but may also serve as an example to your loved one.

  3. Know your own limits and stand up for them.  When a loved one is in crisis, it can be easy to fall into a mode of perpetually responding to them and their behavior.  We love our family and want to take care of them, this is natural. It is important though that we try not to take on a level of responsibility within the situation that hinders our ability to carry on with our lives.  

Create a plan for how the family as a system will deal with an emergency. An excellent suggestion is to ensure that every family member has a “buddy” they can call in a crisis. This provides both that no one need handle a crisis individually and that no one individual within the family ends up inundated continuously by the crisis.

Have someone outside of your family that is unaffected by the current circumstance that you can lean on for support. Sometimes we need an objective voice, other times we need a shoulder to cry on. Identify someone in your circle that you can rely on in this way and let them know who they are. This person can become an integral level of support for you.

I hope that these three lessons I learned can be helpful to others. My story might be inspirational to some readers that they too can weather the storm of addiction.  That there is light at the end of the tunnel.

At Granite Mountain, we are here to answer any questions or concerns.  Please contact us through our website or by phone at 844-878-3221. Reach out anytime, we are here to help.

Until next time
Your friend in service,
Rob


To get help for substance use disorder today contact us today

Bouncing Forward

How Families Can Become More Resilient in the Face of Adversity

Beginning in the early 1980’s researchers began studying individual resilience. That is, an individual’s ability to withstand and recover from traumatic experiences.  Before this research, it was common to view people through a deterministic lens. The traumatic experiences he or she had survived informed and primarily determined the sort of person he or she would become.  In this view, if one were the victim of child abuse, they would go on to become a perpetrator themselves. Over time many experts recognized that this presumption was not born out in actual practice. Most who were the victims of abuse did not go on to become abusers, most people who survived great disasters natural or human-made went on to thrive in life.  This observation contradicted the established deterministic view and caused a surge of research into what is now known as human resilience. Viewed through the resilience lens an individual who has survived trauma is not regarded as “damaged” rather they are seen as having been challenged by life and as having the innate abilities to foster their healing. An entire new discipline within psychology is growing around these ideas.  

Around the turn of this century, psychologists began looking into resilience within a family system.  This work has expanded our understanding of what constitutes a thriving family system in adverse situations.  Resilience within a family system enables the family to face and successfully respond to challenging circumstances and to grow as a family through these experiences.  The family resilience framework views each family member not only in regards to his or her capacity but also in light of his or her potential impact on the strength of the family as a functioning system.  Resilience is a skill that can be learned and refined within individuals and family systems. In this article, I will present a framework of skills and attitudes which if practiced can maximize a families ability to confront and overcome challenging crises situations, thereby assisting the family in facing their current and future challenges more successfully.  

Based on the work of Dr. Froma Walsh we will consider three broad categories of processes involved in a family resilience framework: family belief systems, organizational patterns, and communication processes.

Systems of Belief

Talking about the narratives we tell ourselves

The stories we tell ourselves about our past, our present, and our future shape what we believe about ourselves as individuals, how we approach the world around us, and what options we feel are open to us.  Similarly, the stories a family tells one another about the family and its history shape the families systems of belief. This family belief system dramatically influences how the family views their shared history, their current situation, and their possible futures.  What a family believes will be a primary determinant in how they approach times of extreme stress.

Making meaning out of adversity

Looking past crisis to see what’s going on

Whether a family views a crisis as permanent, inevitable, and insurmountable or as temporary, comprehensible, and manageable may only be a matter of the stories the family decides to tell themselves about the event.  The shared story has a profound impact on the families ability to overcome the challenge and remain a connected family unit. Experiences are just that, things that happen, the meaning we decide both individually and collectively to ascribe to the state of affairs will largely determine how we can move past them successfully.   

Successful family systems have a sense of adversity as a shared experience and share a belief in the family’s ability to overcome the challenge together.  By relying on the family system, individual family members increase their ability to meet a crisis successfully. Also, by contextualizing and normalizing the distress of the family, the individuals can see their reaction and challenges, as well as, those of other family members as reasonable in the context of the current difficulties.  The understanding of crisis within the context of the family’s evolution allows them to see challenges as meaningful, understandable, and manageable challenges rather than viewing them as incomprehensible and insurmountable. By understanding obstacles as a shared challenge, normalizing the shared adversity, and understanding crisis as an essential experience within a family’s evolution we become better able to understand the experience and move toward exploring a more robust set of options for how to manage the situation. 

Keeping A Positive Outlook

Maintaining a positive attitude and an optimistic outlook for the future can be very challenging, this is never truer than in the face of great adversity.  If a family can maintain a positive outlook, it has a tremendous impact on the family’s ability to move through trouble successfully. The highest functioning families have been found to hold more optimistic views of life in general and appear more able to maintain this point of view during times of high stress.  

By encouraging family members in times of stress, affirming for one another the strengths inherent in the family, a family system can bolster the positive attitude needed to overcome the current challenge.  Encouragement can counter the sense of hopelessness during these times and enable family members to act with courage and perseverance in surmounting a challenge. A focus on strengths and perseverance are calling cards of resilience.  

I have seen this demonstrated in my own life.  My wife was thirty weeks pregnant with our second child at the time that her water broke, this is far too early and was an immediate medical emergency.  My wife was on total bedrest for thirty days at the hospital to forestall delivery. Throughout this period of stress, she experienced the full range of emotions, as one would imagine.   We are fortunate to live in proximity to family and many friends. Over the thirty days I watched as each visitor affirmed for my wife that she was capable, they reminded her of other experiences she had been through that were very challenging and how she had surmounted those obstacles, and always encouraged her to continue to stay strong.  When she reflects on this experience, she reports how during times of greatest despair she would recall these conversations and how they provided the strength to make it through one more day.

Additionally, my wife will recount that her commitment to only focusing on the elements of the experience that were controllable enabled her to stay focused on positive actions she could take.  The research shows this is much more than a mental trick. Having a positive mindset is not about fooling oneself about potential risks or realities of a particular circumstance. Instead, it is about dwelling in the possible.  That is, the ability to take a realistic appraisal of a situation, what are the possible outcomes, and then focusing time, energy, and effort on creating the best possible resolution for a given set of circumstances. In the case of our family it wasn’t that her positive attitude and perseverance changed the outcome of my sons birth, but these traits enabled Aimy not to give up,  Her strength, in turn, inspired the rest of our family, allowing all of us to experience both the challenge and the good of the experience. When we look back on this time now we think of it not primarily as a challenging time; rather our family story is one of love, connection, and strength. We all agree that it was one of the most important experiences we have shared and that it brought us together as a family, and to top it off we were able to add another member to our family.

 

The Importance of Transcendent Belief and Affiliation

Finding a power to propel you

Traditionally most people were able to tap into inner resilience through religious affiliation and practice.  Many people still do, for those that don’t actively participate in a spiritual tradition, it is essential to understand what the mechanisms are within these traditions that allow people to tap previously unseen strength and resilience.  Research has found that attachment to ritual tradition, connections to a congregation, and a belief structure that extends beyond one’s specific place and time are the crucial elements.

Ritual traditions have been prominent in every culture of which we are aware.  Rituals are employed to mark the significant transitions in life, moving from childhood to adulthood, partner coupling, the birth of children, death, and many others.  If not members of a tradition which includes these types of rites and rituals it can be crucial for a family to make a conscious effort to develop personal family traditions that celebrate these transitions.  Familial rituals can ease the stress associated with a change allowing members of the family to embrace significant life events instead of associating stress and negativity with these times.

We have many sayings in common usage that illustrate the understanding that connection and community are essential elements of human life.  “It takes a village,” “strength in numbers” for example. In times of high-stress deep connections to a community provide relief from stress and other negative emotions associated with the current crisis.  We don’t feel alone and have opportunities to be involved in the lives of others taking the focus off our problems.

Religious traditions provide a framework of belief that extends beyond our circumstances and gives individuals the ability to understand their challenges within a broader context.  Being able to take this more comprehensive view helps to lessen the perceived stress of a crisis. When families are overwhelmed with crisis transcendent beliefs, and broad community connections enable them to imagine a better future, cope with stress, and encourage a full sense of their ability to move forward into the future.  These are crucial elements of resilience.

This concludes part one of this multi-part series.  In part two I will examine how our understanding of family structure, connectedness, and a families social and economic resources impact resilience within a family system.  

If we can help answer any questions or concerns please contact us through our website or by phone at 844-878-3221, we are here to help.

Until next time
Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell.


For those seeking help for substance use disorder don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.

8 Reasons You’ll Love Granite Mountain Behavioral

Typically in this blog, we try and bring our readers topics that will inform, educate, and inspire.  At the risk of seeming self-indulgent, I wanted to spend some time today highlighting eight things I feel make Granite Mountain BHC special.  While I have a vested interest in the work we do, I am incredibly proud of our facility, and everyone who works for us. We were founded in a collective effort to improve on the typical treatment experience.  Every single person who works with us shares our vision of creating a recovery community that is second to none. We try to accomplish this lofty goal at every level of our facility. Below I have attempted to provides some examples of the things that, to me, make us so unique, and why, I think you’ll love us: 

1. Recover Strong

Recover Strong is the cornerstone of our treatment model.  It is an innovative approach to treating substance use disorder and its common comorbidities.  Based on the neuroscience of addiction, Recover Strong is a therapeutic modality which endeavors to unlock the brain’s potential to heal itself.  It does this through engaging the natural functions of neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. Physical movement is an integral part of our evolutionary past, we have evolved to move.  Each time our Recover Strong group meets we begin with a warm-up, and then head directly into the WOD (workout of the day). This workout is purposely designed so that each participant is able to push themselves to their personal level of exertion for the day.  Each time in the gym we are aiming to have all participants get their heart rate to 75%-85% of max heart rate for 30-40 minutes. Hitting these two markers creates some extraordinary effects in the brain. The direct impact of increased information processing capacity and the flood of hormones into the mind will last for 2-4 hours.  Our trainers and other staff who are present ensure that whether a particular patient is an advanced athlete or someone who hasn’t worked out in years they are able to work out in a safe and supportive environment. The community and camaraderie that has grown around Recover Strong is something that needs to be seen to be believed.

2. Small in Size, Big in Heart

At Granite Mountain BHC we have made the conscious choice to keep our community small in size. It is of paramount importance to us that we ensure that each patient has truly individualized care.   Suffering from addiction is often lonely and isolated. It is one of our core beliefs that creating an authentic connection is essential to recovery, and we work hard to create a community that encourages these relationships to form.  With a low staff to patient ratio, we are able to make sure that each patient has as much individualized care as he or she needs. At Granite Mountain, each patient becomes an integral part of our community. We believe that while we may all serve different roles within the community each is an indispensable part of the whole. 

3. Innovative Treatment

The treatment industry is in many respects stuck in the past.  Many treatment facilities base their clinical approach on scientific research that is several decades old.  It is hard to imagine another healthcare environment where this would be the case. At Granite Mountain, we believe that when people’s lives are on the line “good enough” isn’t good enough.  We are continually finding ways to bring the newest and most significant research being done in the field to bear for the benefit of our patients and their families. Whether it is through the utilization of a neuro-scientific approach to addiction or utilizing some of the latest developments in the treatment of trauma we are continually striving to create better more permanent outcomes for our patients.

4.  Beautiful Natural Setting

Serenity may ultimately be an internal experience of one’s own consciousness, but it is often inspired by peaceful surroundings and the pure sublimity of nature.  Nestled in the high desert beauty of Northern Arizona, Granite Mountain BHC has its share of both. Our patients are treated to natural splendor on a daily basis. Each day we invite patients and staff to enjoy the sun and views from our facility. Additionally, we make many planned excursions into the local state and national parks including Sedona and the Grand Canyon. 

5.  Homestyle living

While a patient of Granite Mountain each person lives in a single family home style residence.  Each home is comfortable and well appointed. We have purposely avoided the institutional feel associated with many treatment programs.  We want our community members to feel comfortable and at ease while with us. After a long day of therapy, volunteering, or work it is great to be able to unwind in the comfort of one’s own home.  Whether watching TV, reading a book, or chatting with one’s housemates or one of the on-site staff, this time at the end of each day is often reported to be the most valuable. This style of housing also enables us to create a therapeutic environment that approximates living at home.  Patients are able to work with staff on many of the life skills that will be needed upon graduation.

6.  Commitment not Compliance

Too often when entering treatment, a new patient is greeted with a long list of “rules” that must be followed.  These rules aim to create compliance within the community. There is no evidence that this is an effective mechanism to generate long-term recovery.   We believe that for adults to recover they need to be engaged in their recovery process. One of the primary ways we accomplish this is by tapping into a patient’s fundamental commitment to growth.  Commitment, not compliance is the path to real change.

 7.  Committed and Involved Staff

The first thing most visitors notice when they attend our Recover Strong group for the first time is that our staff are in the gym sweating alongside our patients.  Our therapists, our house managers, and even our Executive Director, we all participate. You can’t just talk about community you have to build it actively. Our staff is hand selected for experience, training, and commitment to our patients.   No challenge is too big or problem too small for us. If it is troubling a member of our community, it is our top priority. Our leadership team is on site daily and is integrally involved in all aspects of community life. This sets the tone for the care and dedication we expect.  In addition to being “employees,” our staff are models of recovery for our patients. This is a responsibility all of our team take very seriously.

 8.  A Community dedicated to healing body, mind, and spirit

We are a community that believes in healing the whole person.  Our dedication to implementing innovative solutions to addiction, creating a community of authentic connection, and to all of our community members is what sets us apart and makes us a special place to be. 

Come schedule a visit at our facility and see for yourself what there is to love about Granite Mountain BHC.

Please reach out to us if we can answer any questions or provide other assistance, we are here to help.  We can be reached through our website or by phone at 844-878-3221

 

Until next time
Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell


To get help for substance use disorder today please contact us today