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The Role of Spirituality in Addiction Recovery | Long Island Addiction Resources

The Role of Spirituality in Addiction RecoveryAs the Jewish community celebrates another Rosh Hashanah, it’s worth discussing the potential positive impact that spirituality can have on our recovery and lasting wellness. The concept of spirituality is firmly ingrained in the classical and modern tenets of addiction treatment. Despite the continuing evolution of substance abuse treatment, the link to faith and the belief in a higher power endure as one of the clinical bedrocks of care. This is because it allows to conceive of a force greater than ourselves an what we’ve been through, an idea that can be incredibly comforting when we feel as though we have lost control.Embracing spirituality is not entirely about putting our faith in any kind of organized religion. Although there may be a religious component to spiritual therapy, it is not fundamental to reaping its benefits and internal rewards. For one person, spirituality can mean fervent recitation of scripture and uncompromising attendance of religious services; for others, it can simply mean recognizing the beauty of nature and contemplating a plan or a cycle of life that has nothing to do with us. For many of us, it’s quite liberating to think that we can be so important to the people who care about us, but that our problems may be a drop in the bucket compared to what others are going through.Spirituality allows us a base of support and understanding during the more vulnerable points of our recovery. Regardless of whether or not we even believe in a higher power, the healing catharsis of spirituality can help us gain emotional strength, empathy and confidence. It is not something that’s closed off to us simply because we aren’t overtly devout to any kind of faith. Simply put, there’s a clear distinction between religion and spirituality, and this is something that all of us can embrace in our continued recovery.via Long Island Addiction Resources

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Suffolk County Files Lawsuit against Big Pharma | Long Island Addiction Resources

Suffolk County Files Lawsuit against Big PharmaIn response to a fierce and pervasive opioid painkiller epidemic claiming dozens of its residents each year, Long Island’s Suffolk County is accusing several major pharmaceutical companies of using dishonest marketing practices to downplay the risk of their prescription painkillers. The accusations materialized into a lawsuit late last month, which targets big drug makers like Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Endo International. The lawsuit is the latest in a series of filed by other major cities and could wind up being a referendum on the hones that exists on drug manufacturers to fully disclose the dangers of their products.Other regional plaintiffs entangled in an ongoing battle against these drug manufacturers include Chicago; Orange and Santa Clara counties in California; and the state of Mississippi. At the heart of each suit are accusations that drug manufacturers are illegally expanding markets for their opioid painkillers and subsequently forcing taxpayers of each region to subsidize medications that are often needlessly prescribed. The suit plainly states that the defendants “sought to create a false perception of the safety and efficacy of opioids in the minds of medical professionals and members of the public that would encourage the use of opioids for longer periods of time and to treat a wider range of problems, including such common aches and pains as lower back pain, arthritis, and headaches.”Proving culpability in these matters can prove to be extremely difficult. In addition to the enormous legal resources with which these companies to protect themselves, they can point to a number of historical policy initiatives that created a widespread need for their services, including landmark recommendations from leading physicians that downplayed the risk of addiction opioid painkillers pose. In a letter in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1980, Dr. Jane Porter reported that out of nearly 12,000 patients who had received a narcotic painkiller, only four became addicted. In a 1986 study published in the journal Pain, Dr. Russell Portenoy — at the time, a prominent proponent of narcotic painkillers whose work was backed by drug manufacturers — reported that only two of 24 patients treated with them for years had exhibited problems managing the medication. Other physicians expressed concern that by withholding opioid drugs, physicians could be under-treating pain.The reality is that it can be very easy for these companies to turn around and place the blame on the medical community and even the United States Government for a continued pathology of efforts that’s created the supposed need for these drugs. In the meantime, more and more Long Island residents, and Americans in general, continue to have their lives destroyed as a result of the potency of these medications.via Long Island Addiction Resources

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Overcoming the Odds: Relapse Rates in Addiction Recovery | Long Island Addiction Resources

Overcoming the Odds: Relapse Rates in Addiction RecoveryAlthough they’re getting lower, relapse rates in addiction recovery are historically high. As much as we struggle not to let these numbers affect us, it’s easy to feel like a statistic even when we haven’t shown the slightest signs of vulnerability during our recovery. The cloud of relapse is always looming over our heads, for some of us a motivator and for others an albatross. Like anything else, it’s far too easy to let our vulnerability to relapse become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we become obsessed and consumed with the possibility of a setback, we’re much more likely to gravitate toward it.We have to realize that there’s a difference between mindfulness and fixation. There’s a healthy level of reality in admitting the strong possibility of relapse based on others that came before us, but there’s also a healthy level of strength and optimism when we acknowledge that we can beat the odds and transcend statistics. When we rely on the integrity of our treatment programs and aftercare plans and continue our therapy and attendance at meetings, we further ensure that our story can be, and is different from others. As we get more and more comfortable in our routines, the prospect of relapse becomes more and more distant, although it never fully leaves us.As much as people like to throw predictive numbers out there, the reality is that none of us are abstractions. We are living, breathing individuals with our strengths and vulnerabilities. When we recognize our uniqueness and our special ability to overcome drugs or alcohol, we further empower ourselves against the numbers that scare us so much. While it’s important to always be mindful of the possibility of relapse, we can’t let the specter of fear interfere with our recovery. We’re at our best when we have a healthy and realistic respect for our vulnerability while putting our strengths front and center.via Long Island Addiction Resources

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When “Choice” Becomes a Loaded Word | Long Island Addiction Resources

When “Choice” Becomes a Loaded WordFor many it’s just easier and more comfortable to view addiction as a choice. If they’re convinced that someone chooses to derail their lives and plunge deeper and deeper into drug and alcohol dependency on a daily basis, it’s easier to cut them off without having to contemplate the excruciating and complex pain they’re experiencing. If they tell themselves that “it’s their choice” to spend all their money on their addiction, isolate themselves from their friends and family and gradually destroy their quality of life, it’s easier to write them off without having to think about what brought them there.Despite piles of medical and scientific evidence to the contrary, many still believe that chemical dependency extends only as far as the “choices” of the user. This perception has allowed the stigma of addiction to infiltrate society further and significantly impact patient access to treatment. There is evidence of this phenomenon in the insurance industry as well as the clinical landscape. The recovery community is full of stories about patients that had to “fail first” in a program that was clearly inadequate to address their care needs before their insurance providers allowed them to enter another, more targeted program. While these decisions are clearly motivated by cost, they are also part and parcel of a culture that still seems to downplay the serious medical nature of addiction.As hard as it is to face addiction-related discrimination in lifestyle areas like housing, employment and others, it’s even harder to thrive in recovery and survive on a daily basis with this strong, albeit dwindling stigma. While the addiction treatment community has made significant strides in representing chemical dependency as the medical condition that it is, it may be a while before actual substantive policy reflects this shifting perception. In the meantime, we can learn to overcome stigma by being living examples of recovery each day. We don’t have to, nor should we be, held hostage by the opinions of others.via Long Island Addiction Resources

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