Mixing Klonopin and Alcohol

mixing Klonopin and alcohol

Klonopin and Alcohol

Klonopin is a benzodiazepine that many doctors prescribe to people who have moderate to severe anxiety. There have been many cases where people were mixing Klonopin and alcohol. The dangers of doing this are serious.


If you have a prescription for Klonopin, it is vital to know the drug can be addictive. It becomes more of a problem when mixing it with other substances. The good news is there are treatment programs for people who need to stop using Klonopin and alcohol.


For now, it might be a good idea to learn more about the symptoms of mixing these substances, the withdrawal process and other aspects of this type of addiction.

Symptoms of Mixing Klonopin and Alcohol

Klonopin like alcohol and all depressants, causes depression of the central nervous system. If you have both these substances in your system, the effects will be amplified. Sometimes, the consequences can be deadly.


Some symptoms of mixing Klonopin and alcohol include:

  • Slower breathing
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Coordination issues
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Memory issues
  • Cognitive function issues
  • Moderate to severe headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep problems

In most cases, Klonopin is a safe prescription drug. Doctors control how much of this medication each patient gets. The problem is that many people mix it with other substances such as alcohol. Some people will buy more Klonopin from others when they don’t get the effects they want from their prescription.


If you have been mixing alcohol with Klonopin and you’re struggling to quit, we can help.

Who Abuses Klonopin and Alcohol

Anyone can be at risk of abusing Klonopin and alcohol. However, studies show that undergraduate students have the highest rates of mixing Klonopin and alcohol. In the studies, 12.1% of the students were abusing one or more medications and alcohol.


Some of the others who commonly abuse alcohol and Klonopin include:

  • People 25 and younger
  • Those who don’t have their high school diploma
  • Single people
  • People who have a history of drinking a lot

If you have been abusing these substances, you aren’t alone. You can get the help you need to stop using alcohol and Klonopin.

Signs of Addiction

Many people who mix alcohol and a benzodiazepine like Klonopin don’t think there is a problem with what they are doing. Do they all have an addiction? There is no guarantee that everyone who takes these substances at the same time has an addiction. However, it is still dangerous to do so.


There are so many risks of mixing harmful substances such as alcohol and benzodiazepines. People who continue to mix them may have an addiction.


If you combine these substances and can’t seem to stop, contact us today. We can help diagnose whether you have an addiction. If so, don’t worry. We can get you the treatment you need to overcome that addiction.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

Some people avoid going to a treatment program because they worry about withdrawal. It can be tough to go through this process on your own. However, you can get help managing the symptoms of withdrawal when attending a treatment program.


Some withdrawal symptoms a rehab center team can help you manage include:

  • Raised body temperature
  • Hallucinations
  • Coordination problems
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rebound anxiety
  • Profuse sweating
  • Seizures
  • Increased heart rate
  • Panic attacks
  • Tremors

Thinking about these withdrawal symptoms can be scary. However, if you enroll in a treatment program, you won’t have to deal with these symptoms yourself. You will get around-the-clock care if you go to an inpatient rehab center. There are other treatments you can receive, as well.

Get Help to Stop Using Klonopin and Alcohol

Mixing alcohol and a benzodiazepine can be dangerous. The side effects will be much worse if you have both substances in your system simultaneously. You could have side effects such as nausea and vomiting to tremors and seizures. Even if you don’t experience most of the side effects above, the damage these substances do to your body can be substantial.


The important thing is to get help to stop using these substances if you need to do so. Many professionals have experience and training to deal with addiction such as this one. Once you detox from these substances, the treatment program can help you learn techniques to manage your anxiety. Those techniques can give you a natural way of managing anxiety, so you don’t feel the need to use Klonopin and alcohol.


Have you been mixing alcohol and a benzodiazepine? We don’t want to see you struggle with substance abuse. Contact us today to get help with your Klonopin and alcohol addiction.


Over The Counter Drug Abuse

over the counter drugs can be abused

What Is Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse?

We know about people abusing illegal drugs. Terms like “opioid crisis” populate the news. Many people even abuse their own prescriptions. But what about over-the-counter drug abuse? Do people become addicted to commonplace pharmacy medications?


Over-the-counter” (OTC) refers to medications you may obtain without a prescription. Think about the aisles of your local pharmacy. You do not need to go see a doctor to obtain aspirin. If you have a cough or cold, plenty of medications lie within reach.


In this blog article, Harmony Stuart digs into these topics:


  • What kinds of OTC medications can one get in a pharmacy?
  • What are some of the most commonly abused OTC drugs?
  • Why do people abuse OTC drugs?
  • Can someone get help for OTC drug abuse?
  • Where can I get more information about over-the-counter drug abuse?


What Kinds of OTC Medications Can One Get In A Pharmacy?

You need no prescription to get over-the-counter medicine. You need only money, and the means to enter a pharmacy. Additionally, many retail and grocery chains contain pharmacies. Name-brand pain relievers even line the shelves of gas stations and rest stops. One can acquire OTC medications just about anywhere.


Pharmacies contain medications that numb pain and discomfort. They sell cough and cold medicines that can make you drowsy. On the flipside, you can also buy stimulants like caffeine pills. One could get some of the same results as if one consumed illicit or prescription drugs. And without the legal worries.


What Are Some Of The Most Commonly Abused OTC Drugs?

We all want to feel good. We’d gladly trade feeling better over feeling worse. People engage in over-the-counter drug abuse to change the way they feel. And just like prescription or illicit drugs, OTC medications can provide just that. Below, find examples of some of the most commonly abused OTC drugs.


Dextromethorphan (DXM)

Dextromethorphan shows up in many cough and cold remedies. OTC medicines like Robitussin, Delsym, and Mucinex contain it. If the label says “DM,” it has dextromethorphan. You can find DXM in syrup, capsules, dissolvable strips and more. Taking too much can make one sleepy. Other side effects include hallucinations and slowed breathing.



Loperamide provides temporary relief for diarrhea. It comes in capsules, tablets, and in liquid form. You can find it as an ingredient in things like Immodium and Diamode. It slows movement in your stomach and intestines. Overdosing on loperamide can lead to nausea, a racing heartrate, and trouble breathing.



Pseudoephedrine helps with stuffy and runny noses. We refer to it as a “nasal decongestant,” and likewise a stimulant.  You may know it by the brand name Sudafed. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) forbids athletes from consuming pseudoephedrine prior to competing.


Why Do People Abuse OTC Drugs?

People use drugs to change their moods, emotions, or mental states. When a person cannot stop despite negative consequences, they may have developed substance use disorder (SUD). Not everyone who abuses OTC medications will become afflicted by SUD. But many do.


We cannot attribute abuse of OTC medications to a single cause. Every person’s life carries its own struggles. No one holds the exact same deck of cards. But, several factors in one’s life do seem to collectively influence substance abuse. These factors include:


  • Genetics, family history, and DNA
  • Early home life and upbringing
  • Mental and physical health
  • Quality of relationships
  • Prescence of trauma


Can Someone Get Help For OTC Drug Abuse?

Those struggling with addiction to OTC medications can get help. Their addiction need not be a life sentence. People incur SUD for a variety of reasons. Each of those reasons need addressing. Harmony Stuart extols sobriety. However, we do not view sobriety as an end by itself.


Sobriety clears the mind. With a clear mind, one has a better view of one’s life. The recovery process at Harmony Stuart aims to treat the whole person. We do not identify people with their addictions or choices. We view each individual person as having individual experiences.


Depending on your journey, Harmony Stuart has several recovery paths you may choose from. View our treatment programs page to learn more.


Where Can I Get More Information About Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse?

Someone abusing over-the-counter drugs likely abuses other drugs as well. Often, people in these situations have compromised their mental well-being. They may suffer a mental illness alongside their substance abuse disorder. Research literature calls this comorbidity. As mentioned earlier, Harmony Stuart’s programs treat mental wellness in addition to substance abuse.


Have you still got questions? Good! Harmony Stuart wants to hear them. We can provide all the answers you need (and some you didn’t know you needed). If you, or someone that you love, struggles with substance use disorder, speak with us now.

How Do Opioids Affect the Brain?

How Do Opioids Affect the Brain

Ever Wondered How Opioids Affect The Brain?

Perhaps you’ve wondered, “how do opioids affect the brain?” It seems like every time you turn around, you see news about opioids. You hear words like “opioid epidemic” and “opioid crisis.” The news talks a lot about addictions. They frequently mention the deaths. But how does a person get real information about opioid effects on the brain?

In this post, Harmony Treatment & Wellness assesses the following:

  • What are opioids?
  • How do opioids affect the brain?
  • What is opioid use disorder?
  • Do treatments exist for opioid use disorder?
  • What if I want more information about opioids and the brain?

What Are Opioids?

Opioids occur naturally in your body. Your brain makes them. Researchers call these endogenous opioids. When we hurt, our brains release these opioids to make us feel better. Opioids have the function of easing pain.

What’s The Difference Between Opioids And Opiates?

We can also find opioids in nature. They come from the poppy flower (papaver somniferum). 3 natural opioids we get from the poppy plant include:

  • Opium
  • Morphine
  • Codeine

You may see the terms “opioid” and “opiate” used as synonyms. But they don’t mean the same thing. The word “opioid” refers to both natural and artificial substances. We apply the word “opiate” to natural substances.

Opioids have legitimate medical uses. But when news reports refer to an “opioid crisis,” it makes opioids sound terrible. You may hear the word “synthetic” used in this context. It means that a human being created it. Find a few examples of synthetic opioids below:

  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone

How Do Opioids Impact The Brain?

We learned that our brains manufacture opioids. So, what happens if we consume an opioid? Our brain rewards us. It releases chemicals that make us feel good. Imagine the feeling when you spend time with a loved one. Or when you eat a good meal. Now, imagine that you could amplify that feeling. That represents a glimpse of what opioids can do in the brain.

Our brain becomes accustomed to this feeling. It views this heightened sense of pleasure as its new normal. Over time, the brain begins to require opioids. Without them, it will not function properly. We use the term dependence to describe this state. If a person dependent on opioids stops using them, withdrawal may result.

What About The Body?

We know that opioids help ease pain. They also slow down the brain’s processes. This can make our bodies feel heavy and sluggish. Opioids cause us to get sleepy. We might experience a sense of calm. Therein lies much of the problem with opioids. They slow things down too much.

Opioid overdose can lead to a condition known as ”hypoxia.” It happens when the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen. Opioids slow down the brain and the body. Therefore, they reduce our breathing. If we don’t breathe enough, our brains don’t get enough oxygen. This condition of hypoxia can prove fatal.

What Is Opioid Use Disorder?

Humans like to feel good. And opioids give us good feelings. We should not feel surprised by the fact that people become addicted to opioids. They make pain go away. They provide relief. And they do it well.

But, abusing opioids can lead to opioid use disorder (OUD). The CDC has published a wealth of literature on the exact definition of OUD. For your purpose, you need only keep one thing in mind. Someone struggling with OUD keeps using opioids. And they cannot quit. They keep consuming opioids despite the presence of negative consequences.

Do Treatments Exist For Opioid Use Disorder?

If you struggle with OUD, do not respond with fear. If you love someone with OUD, hold fast. One must not OUD as a life sentence. Harmony Treatment & Wellness knows that people can (and do) recover from OUD. So, inhale. Below, you will find some examples of treatments for OUD.


Treatment providers might treat OUD with a method called medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD). You could hear it called medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MOUD/MAT offers someone with OUD an opioid prescription to help the recovery. Treatment centers have used methadone for such purposes. More recent innovations in MOUD include buprenorphine and naltrexone.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Humans don’t inherently know how to think about our own thoughts. We just assume that we have thoughts. We (quite erroneously) believe we cannot change them. Enter cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT teaches people to evaluate their own thoughts. It helps them to question their thoughts. With CBT, we learn not to take our thoughts at face value. Particularly when used with MOUD, CBT has proven effective in treating opioid use disorder.

What If I Want More Information About Opioids And The Brain?

Thank you for reading this far. Help exists at Harmony Treatment & Wellness. If you’d like more information about how opioids affect the brain, reach out to us. We believe information empowers people. Contact us today to learn more.

What is the Abstinence Model?

In recovery circles, you might hear the term “abstinence model.” The abstinence model implies that a person stops using any and all substances. Some treatment centers might require abstinence. Even prior to getting treatment. Some people might be able to swing that. But what about the rest of us?

In this article, you will learn:

  • How to define the abstinence model
  • Advantages of the abstinence model
  • Disadvantages of the abstinence model
  • Alternatives to the abstinence model
  • How to determine if the abstinence model is right for you

How To Define The Abstinence Model

Merriam-Webster defines abstinence as, “the practice of abstaining from something: the practice of not doing or having something that is wanted or enjoyable.” To abstain means, ”to choose not to do or have something: to refrain deliberately and often with an effort of self-denial from an action or practice.”

You decide to quit. You quit. You pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Dig your way out. You make a plan. You stick to the plan. You succeed. All you need is some willpower. Seems easy, right?

For some people, the abstinence model might work. Let’s explore a few advantages of the abstinence model.

Advantages Of The Abstinence Model

Perhaps you can muster the strength. Perhaps abstinence lies within your grasp. If you can abstain alone.

Let us explore a few advantages of the abstinence model. Advantages include:

  • Unrestricted personal autonomy
  • Maintenance of personal rhythms
  • Faster recovery journey

Unrestricted Personal Autonomy

Let’s face it. Most forms of treatment demand a lot. You have to surrender. Your time. Your schedule. Maybe even your money. Who wants to give all that?

The abstinence model has no restrictions. Or rather, it only places those restrictions which you set for yourself. You’ve decided that it’s time to quit. And so, you quit. You’re an adult. As such, you make your own choices about your life.

Maintenance Of Personal Rhythms 

Your life has a rhythm to it. Likely several rhythms. You have patterns and routines in place. And you’ve set them exactly as you want them. Treatment plans interrupt those rhythms. Providers ask you to put new rhythms in place. Rhythms that you must agree to in order to participate in recovery.

But adhering to the abstinence model lets you have the final say-so. You elect where and when your life’s obligations are.

Faster Recovery Journey

You don’t have weeks and months to spend trying to recover. You know best. If you can wake up tomorrow and quit, do it. Today was the last day. This time was the last. Tomorrow, you’re done. It’ll be a new day. Your recovery will see completion.

Disadvantages Of The Abstinence Model 

Like any recovery tool, the abstinence model has advantages. But it also comes with some distinct disadvantages. Disadvantages include:

  • High likelihood of relapse
  • The abstinence violation effect (AVE)
  • Not addressing root causes or underlying problems

High Likelihood Of Relapse

Success will vary from person to person. For some people, quitting cold turkey has potential. But relapse remains common. Even among those who seek treatment. In an abstinence-only model, you bear all responsibility. You provide all the resources. But perhaps we shouldn’t trust in willpower alone. Recent research suggests that willpower might not be all we thought. How willpower works seems to vary on our motivations for using it. Abstinence might make for a noble endgame goal. But the journey to abstinence involves more than one single decision.

The Abstinence Violation Effect (AVE)

Most recovery journeys don’t turn on a dime. Treatment providers expect those enrolled to struggle. If everyone could simply choose to quit, why would we need treatment centers? The abstinence violation effect occurs when a person attributes their relapse to a personal moral failure. Typically, shame and guilt result. In binge-eaters, AVE remained the most stable predictor of future relapse. In other words, people who felt the most responsible felt the worst. As a result, they tended to relapse faster.

Not Addressing Root Causes Or Underlying Problems

Substance use disorder (SUD) doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Granted, not everyone who uses drugs develops SUD. But often, SUD develops alongside a mental illness. Researchers refer to this as comorbidity. If you stop consuming a substance, you’ve done well. But abstinence isn’t the goal. In recovery, wholeness is the goal. Abstinence doesn’t make you whole. It doesn’t heal you by itself.

Alternatives To The Abstinence Model 

For most people, the strengths of the abstinence model also comprise inherent weaknesses. Treatment models demand a lot of you. They set their standards quite high. But you’ll find that abstinence sets impossibly high standards. Therefore, familiarize yourself with alternatives to the abstinence model. Alternatives include:

  • 12-step programs
  • Outpatient therapy
  • Harm reduction treatment

12-Step Programs 

If you choose abstinence, at least don’t abstain alone. Seek the support of 12-step programs. 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous have been helping people for a long time. In these settings, you’ll at least have the company of others on a similar journey. Though AA and NA advocate for abstinence, they don’t require it.

Outpatient Therapy

Seek out a therapist or counselor. Make scheduled visits. If for nothing else, just to check-in. Even quarterly visits will help you continue your abstinence.

Harm Reduction Treatment

For many people, complete and total abstinence presents an impossibility. Harm reduction treatment works in degrees. Let’s say that last month, you consumed once a day. Every day. For thirty days. You enroll in harm reduction treatment. Thirty days after you begin treatment, you’ve only consumed twenty-five times. We call that progress. That’s how harm reduction treatment works.

How To Determine If The Abstinence Model Is Right For You 

Abstinence may indeed work for some people. The severity of dependence seems a strong predictor of future relapse. Harmony Treatment And Wellness supports evidence-based treatment models. We’re here to help you recover. We offer treatment plans customized to fit your unique situation. No single treatment model works the same for everyone. But recovery is possible and hope is real.

Call Harmony today at 772-247-6180 for more information!

How to Achieve Long Term Sobriety

happy man walking through the city

If you’ve achieved sobriety for even one day, take a moment. Moments can lead to long-term sobriety. Exercise gratitude. Feel thankful for your sobriety. For some, dealing with sobriety presents a completely new way of life.

Sobriety challenges us. It means setting boundaries. Telling ourselves “no.” Developing new habits and untangling old ones. It means taking time to evaluate the past. To learn what led us to our current place.

In this article, you’ll learn the following methods for how to achieve long-term sobriety:

● Finding a why
● Understanding the consequences of substance use
● Setting appropriate boundaries for yourself
● Investing in positive relationships
● Caring for the whole you

Finding A Why

In Twilight Of The Idols, Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “If a man knows the wherefore of his existence, then the manner of it can take care of itself.” Or, to paraphrase Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning, we don’t ask life for meaning. Rather, life asks us to provide the meaning. Life presents us with circumstances – good, bad, and all points in between. In these circumstances lie opportunities. Opportunities for us to define what matters most.

Finding a why helps you understand what’s at stake in your recovery journey. Sobriety gives you clarity. Clarity to think and plan. To discern where you’ve come from. And to aim at where you’re going. Defining this meaning forms the bedrock of your long-term sobriety.

From that bedrock, you can cultivate concrete actions that will improve your life. A person doesn’t become sober simply because they like being sober. You need a reason. Sobriety is the means. Your reason is the end.

Understanding The Consequences Of Substance Use

Having established the why for your sobriety, you’ll have something to strive for. Something to protect. Something worth fighting for. Your reason for sobriety represents something you’re ready to stand in front of. To defend. One research study indicated that 46% of participants viewed escalating consequences of substance use as their main motivation for long-term sobriety.

Physical Consequences

Effects of long-term substance use manifest in the body. Even prescription medications can harm the body. As an example, consider benzodiazepines. Diazepam (Valium) works best in increments no longer than 4 weeks. Anything longer could result in dependence and/or benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome.

Long-term substance use can result in heart and lung problems. Opioids, when used for too long, can compromise your immune system. Prolonged use of cocaine puts consumers at higher risk for strokes and seizures. These kinds of physical consequences present a threat to your why. And as a result, they present a threat to your long-term sobriety.

Mental And Psychological Consequences

Drug use physically changes the structure of the brain. These changes occur as a result of neuroplasticity, your brain’s ability to alter and adapt. Historically, this trait helped our ancestors survive in hostile environments. But long-term drug use does not equate with long-term survival.

Long-term drug use interferes with neurons in the brain. Over time, the brain begins to work much differently. Severe effects of some drugs, like opioids and benzodiazepines, include psychosis and hallucinations. Furthermore, mental illnesses also occur comorbidly with drug use. So, while drug use may not cause mental illness, it can certainly aggravate a pre-existing mental illness. And make it much worse.

Interpersonal Consequences

Long-term sobriety makes you more employable. Using drugs at work, or coming to work after using, can get you terminated. Furthermore, even those who have undergone treatment may face difficulties finding gainful employment.

Relationships with friends and family can suffer as well. Excessive alcohol consumption has adverse effects on marriage and parenting. Research demonstrates a very strong link between alcohol abuse and domestic violence. Look at long-term sobriety as a way to repair interpersonal relationships. Or even to form new ones.

Setting Appropriate Boundaries For Yourself

Sticking with long-term sobriety means setting boundaries. It means saying “no” to some things, and saying “yes” to others. As earlier established, you’ve found a why. So you’ll need to keep potential threats at bay.

In practice, this might mean that you recognize cues. Cues, or triggers, act as signals that cause you to crave something. Long-term sobriety gives to the space to become aware of these cues. Your cues might be specific places, people, or circumstances. Once you’re aware of them, you can put strategies in place for eliminating them from your life.

Investing In Positive Relationships

In recovery, you found social support among others. You entrenched yourself in relationships that encouraged your long-term sobriety. You weren’t dealing with sobriety alone. For long-term sobriety to last, you must form relationships that contribute to your new lifestyle.

Research indicates that positive relationships predict long-term sober living. Relationships require investments of time and emotional capital. As part of your recovery journey, you may need to rectify relationships with those closest to you. You can strengthen relationships you already have. You also have the power and agency to form new ones.

Caring For The Whole You

You have a body and a mind. You have a self. Some might call it a spirit or psyche. You must view yourself as someone who deserves care. And that care must encompass the whole you. Your long-term sobriety must involve measures that address all of you.

When taking care of your body, find a sustainable healthy diet. Recent research suggests that ketogenic diets help alleviate alcohol withdrawal symptoms. But ketogenic diets might not be sustainable for everyone. Try different ways of eating and find one that works for your lifestyle. Apply the same metric to physical training. An exercise program like yoga helps reduce stress and depression.

Your mind needs care as well. One of the best ways to care for your mind is to give it rest. Protect your sleep. Set up safeguards so that you get adequate sleep nightly. Your long-term sobriety will thank you. Meditation has positive mental effects for sobriety as well.

Still, Have Questions About How To Achieve Long-Term Sobriety?

Don’t hesitate another second! If you’d like to know more about how to achieve long-term sobriety, call Harmony Treatment & Wellness now at 772-247-6180.

Changing the Way We Talk About Addiction

Changing the way we talk about addiction

Language And Thought

In 1946, George Orwell published an essay called Politics and the English Language. He wrote, “A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.” How we write illustrates how we think. To honestly observe the words we use to show us how we form ideas.

The “foolish” thoughts we have are not limited to political matters. In the public forum, changing the way we talk about addiction should strive to eliminate slovenly language. Which, to Orwell’s point, encourages “foolish” thoughts. Much of the rhetoric about addiction contains either A) lazy, uninspired language or B) derogatory, weaponized language. Neither tactic presents a helpful, proactive solution.

Weak Words

Weak words are those used simply because they’ve been around for a long time. Nobody really knows why they’re here. Maybe they meant something at one point. But they’ve been used so many times that nobody really gives them a second thought. Most often, no one intends to insult or belittle a person with an SUD with words like these. For that reason, they may stigmatize addiction in a more sinister way than do weaponized words. Here’s just one example.

Much of the jargon around addiction uses divided language. Words that separate people into 2 groups. In and out, us and them. Any terms that maintain this divide must go. You’ll often hear contrasts between cleanliness and uncleanliness. “Clean” or “dirty” needles. “Clean” drug tests, or “peeing hot.” Even people with SUDs use this language with statements about how long they’ve been “clean.” Overuse of this language, without proper thought to what these terms really mean, further instantiates the division between those with SUDs and those without them. Remember, our words indicate how we think. So when people use these words, they tell the truth about what they think about addiction. People with SUDs are “dirty,” and people without SUDs are “clean.” Terms like these have been part and parcel of recovery jargon for a long time.

Weaponized Words

No one who struggles with a substance use disorder (SUD) feels like a winner. They don’t wake up in the morning overcome with joy. Many of them balk at the idea of waking up one more day. They don’t relish their lives. People with SUDs battle feelings of guilt, shame, and worthlessness on a regular basis. Loaded rhetoric intensifies these feelings. Let’s be honest: personal responsibility is an element of addiction. But it’s only one of many other elements. Weaponized words like “junkie” are, at best, unhelpful. At worst, they are destructive. If you’re angry at someone you love who struggles with SUD, that’s acceptable and understandable. It’s ok and normal to have those feelings. If you feel like lashing out at them and calling them names, that’s ok too. You deserve to be heard. But that doesn’t make it ok to do those things. By all means, express your hurt, your anger, or your grief to them. But before you speak, ask yourself a few things:

  1. Will what I’m about to say encourage someone to want to get better?
  2. If I struggled with a SUD, would I want someone to say this to me?
  3. What’s the purpose in what I’m about to say?

To properly express how you feel, phrase your sentences in a way that your loved one will receive. Try something like, “When ____________ happened, I felt ________,” or “when you chose to ________, I felt ________.” Own your feelings. Talk about them openly. But you must decide ahead of time to do so without insulting, labeling, and blaming.

Changing the Way We Talk About Addiction

The unexamined language we use about addiction reveals how we think about it. Our words also show us how we think about people with SUDs. When a culture marks those seeking treatment with dishonor or shame, the culture creates a stigma. Stigma needn’t be intentional to harm the self-worth of people with SUDs. Combating stigma requires a conscious effort to use new language about addiction. New words pave the way for new thoughts. One changed, sharpened mind helps shape the culture around it. That’s how stigmas spread, and that’s how they are stopped. Consider the above example about “clean” and “dirty.” Rather than “clean,” use “abstinent,” or “not actively using.” Where “dirty” might seem appropriate, say “actively using” instead.

Bear in mind that these words don’t exist to soften the reality of addiction. They provide neither excuses nor justifications. People with SUDs have wills. They make meaningful choices. Sometimes those meaningful choices lead them into patterns of suffering. Sometimes they need help to create new patterns. Therefore, language about addiction must be accurate. Language must put people with SUDs first before constructing words about them. Doing so preserves their identities and their wills. Person-first language deepens the meaning of addiction. It gives people with SUDs back the agency they need to change their lives. People with SUDs are just that – people. Giving them back their dignity – not to mention their ability to make meaningful decisions – empowers them. It allows them to assume responsibility for their actions without being crushed by the repercussions of those actions.

Weak words rob people with SUDs of agency and will. Implicitly, weak words treat people with SUDs as ill-fated people with no power. Weak language, while usually well-intended, defines a person by something they do. Or something they have done. Weaponized language punishes. It seeks retribution, leaving the person with SUD beneath its weight. Both types of language sabotage progress. Both for the person with SUD and for those treating them. For their loved ones as well.

People-first language restores hope. It gives those with SUDs hope because it treats them as though they have personhood. Changing language isn’t about easing feelings. It’s about changing meaning. For individuals first, then for the culture at large. Let’s start changing the way we talk about addiction today.

If you’d like more information on combating addiction stigma, contact Harmony Treatment and Wellness now at 772-247-6180.

How Enabling Can Make Addiction More Dangerous

Enabling Can Make Addiction More Dangerous

Parental Instincts

You love your children. You believe in them. They mean the world to you. You want the best for them. You want to do your best for them. You worked hard to provide for them. Put a roof over their head. Made sure they were fed. Gave them a place to sleep. You want for them to succeed; to have things life didn’t afford to you. You offered the wisdom you had. You taught them. You trained them. Your children are your single biggest investment. It’s reasonable to want a return on that investment, right? They ought to be able to turn their lives into something. Shouldn’t they?

Denial and Deflection

You might think nothing is wrong. You may justify your child’s addiction. Or try to minimize it. “Well,” you might say. “They’re still in school.” Or, “they can still hold down a job.” Remember: drug abuse doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Addiction has an array of contributing factors. And one of those is a person’s home life. If you discover that your child is using, even once, ask questions. You should want to know why.

What Is Enabling?

In our quest to help our children, we want to spare them consequences. We want to protect them from their mistakes. This protective desire is normal. And healthy in many cases. But it can have a disadvantage. No matter how well intended our actions are, they can enable our children to keep using. Enabling behaviors encourage or inspire continued substance abuse in our loved ones.

It’s an unfortunate consequence. If we shield our children from consequences, we can rob them of the impetus to change. As a result, they will have no desire to seek treatment. If an addiction continues unabated, it can cause irreversible health problems. Up to, and including, death.

Step Out Of Denial

“My child is an addict.” A very hard thing to say out loud. Even harder to believe. But that’s the first step, which is often the most difficult. Before we can begin to genuinely help our kids, we have to admit their problems. Try it. Put these words together. My. Child. Is. An. Addict. You must square up to this reality. You must acknowledge it. Don’t wait for a tragedy, like a lost job or failing grades. Intervene now. It might arouse anger, mistrust, guilt, or frustration. But not addressing the addiction will make it worse for you. And worse for your child.

I Admit My Child Is Addicted. Now What?

Cultivate trust. Trust is the essential ingredient in getting your child help. To cultivate trust, practice active listening. Look them in the eye. Ask them open-ended questions about their experiences. Respond with your body, as well as your voice. Nod. Use verbal affirmations (“yes, “I see,” “uh-huh,” “go on,” etc.). If you don’t understand something they say, then tell them so. Feel free to ask clarifying questions. Don’t offer advice. Don’t make any statements until they finish speaking. Once they are done, repeat back to them how you understand what they said. Preface with something like, “So, what I hear you saying is…” or, “let me make sure I understand…” Even if you get it wrong, it’s the effort that cultivates trust.

If you, or someone you love, is struggling with addiction, don’t wait. Treatment is available. If you’d like more information, call Harmony Treatment and Wellness now at 772-247-6180.

What is Polysubstance Abuse?

Polysubstance Abuse

At the end of 2019, Jarad Anthony Higgins, known around the globe as rapper Juice Wrld, passed away. A coroner’s report released the following January attributed Juice Wrld’s cause of death to oxycodone and codeine toxicity. Juice Wrld died on December 8, seven days after his twenty-first birthday. Gustav Elijah Åhr, who performed under the name LiL PEEP, died November 15, 2017 due to a combination of fentanyl and Xanax. Like Juice Wrld, Åhr was mere days into his twenty-first year. His birthday was November 1.

Polysubstance Abuse is Surprisingly Common

Juice Wrld and LiL PEEP were young, forward-thinking artists and entrepreneurs. They were only teens when they launched their careers. We won’t ever know what else they might have produced. But their deaths are just symptoms of a much greater problem. Mixing two or more substances together to amplify the effects is called “polysubstance abuse.”

Alcohol is easy to get. It’s also highly addictive. For those reasons, it’s common for people to use their drug of choice while drinking. Generally, alcohol enhances the effects of whatever drugs are in your system. Depressants, when taken with alcohol, can make you dizzy, impair your ability to walk, concentrate, or remember correctly. Stimulants in conjunction with alcohol, keep you from telling how much you’ve had to drink. Consequently, it becomes very easy to drink too much. Drinking while using opiates can slow down the breath, which can lead to loss of consciousness and permanent brain damage.

The Dangers of Polysubstance Abuse

Aside from alcohol, another common practice is to combine benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines, or “benzos,” include alprazolam/Xanax, clonazepam/Klonopin, lorazepam/Ativan. Examples of opioids are oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and fentanyl. Opioids are painkillers. And benzos are used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. Both benzos and opioids are depressants for the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS controls speech, memory, mobility, perception, and judgment. But according to the FDA, the biggest risk factor in using opioids and benzos together is their effect on breathing. Opioids and benzos can sedate a person so much that their brain “forgets” to breathe.

In 2001, 9% of people prescribed an opioid were also prescribed benzos. That number rose to 17% in 2013, which represents an 80% increase. In 2019, 16% of all opioid overdose deaths also involved benzodiazepine. As a result, the CDC recommends that doctors not prescribe opioids and benzos together.

No Such Thing as ‘Safe Substance Abuse’

But what if you switch it up a bit? If drinking is a problem, surely using something else would be an improvement? Make no mistake: there’s no such thing as “safe” substance abuse. Avoiding your drug of choice by replacing it with another substance does you no good. Dependence is real. Depriving your body of a drug can cause withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawing from alcohol, benzos, and opioids often requires a medical detox, supervised by a doctor. Substituting one substance for another can complicate your withdrawal. Likewise, abusing a second substance can create dependence on that substance.

But there is hope. Like any addiction, polysubstance abuse can be treated. If you or someone you love is struggling with polysubstance abuse, or any other addiction, call Harmony Treatment & Wellness now at 772-247-6180.

What is a Sponsor in Recovery?

sponsor sponsee talking outside

Sponsorship is an integral part of any 12-step recovery program. Most people begin by simply attending meetings and for some, that may be all they ever do. It is important to understand however that going to meetings alone does not constitute “working a program”. In terms of the 12-step recovery programs, the work is in the steps themselves. And to work the steps, you need a sponsor.

What is a Sponsor?

Simply put, the role of a sponsor here is to take you through the 12 steps. A sponsor will provide guidance and may ask you to read certain sections of text or to do some writing or journaling along the way. The purpose is to help you gain a greater understanding of the meaning of each step as you take it. It is the sponsor’s responsibility to help you understand the steps and to encourage you to think, ask questions and engage the material. Doing step work is intended to introduce new ways of thinking and generate insights. A large part of it is about understanding your own behavior and thinking and learning how to change for the better. You should feel comfortable being honest with your sponsor, and you should feel you can trust them implicitly. Trust and honesty are essential for the sponsor-sponsee relationship to work.

What a Sponsor Isn’t

A sponsor is not a therapist or a marriage counselor. A sponsor is non-professional. They may give you advice, but their primary role should always be focused on the literature of the program you are in. Ideally, there should be a clear separation between what is simply their opinion and what is actually in the literature. An effective sponsor will more often try to lead you to find your own answers in the literature and program. An effective sponsor will ask you just as many questions as you ask them. Their role is as a guide through the material and in working your steps. They may share wisdom and insight they have picked up along the way, but a sponsor is not a guru or a saint. They are not infallible. A sponsor isn’t your “higher power”. You should not choose a friend or a buddy as a sponsor. You should not choose an employee of a treatment facility you attended. You should not choose your employer or superior at work. The primary relationship should be sponsee (you) and sponsor (them). Any other relationship dynamic can potentially complicate matters. Steer clear of people who do not exhibit humility and do not put the program, literature and higher power first. Avoid narcissists and blowhards.

How to Choose a Sponsor

In most cases, you will find your sponsor through the meetings and fellowship. A great place to start is simply by listening. Listen to people who speak at the meetings. Look for people who demonstrate the qualities you aspire to in yourself. That means spiritual and character qualities. Honesty. Integrity. Virtue. Humility. Not the guy or girl who drives the nicest car or has the most impressive career. A sponsor should have worked all 12 steps and should have a sponsor of their own. Time in recovery is relevant, but not as relevant as character and knowledge of the program. You are likely better off with a sponsor with 3 years who applies the principles of the program in their life and knows the material than a sponsor who has been going to meetings for 20 years but does not work a serious program. Take care in choosing a sponsor, but do not spend months without one trying to find the “perfect fit”. You have the right to choose another sponsor if the first one does not work out. Just keep your focus on the primary purpose of a sponsor. It is to introduce you to the program, take you through the 12 steps and inspire thought and insight. Choose a person who you believe is of good character and will do a good job of those things for you.

In Conclusion

The relationship between sponsor and sponsee is a sacred one. You must be able to tell your sponsor things in complete confidence. Your sponsor should be someone you respect and trust. Remember that your primary goal in a 12-step program should be to work all 12-steps to the best of your ability. Meetings are about fellowship and support. They are an important part of the program, but they are not the program itself. Get a sponsor. Work all 12-steps. That is what 12-step recovery is at its core.

What to Expect in an Outpatient Detox

patient and doctor

What Is Outpatient Detox?

Everyone’s addiction journey is unique. No two journeys are the same. So not everyone requires residential treatment. Outpatient detox is a non-residential care option. It is specifically designed for people who have obligations for work, school, or family life. For a person struggling with addiction, outpatient detox offers the therapeutic attention needed to create a successful treatment plan. At the same time, outpatient detox offers the freedom to integrate one’s treatment plan into one’s life.

What Is Withdrawal?

Withdrawal occurs when an addicted person stops using a certain drug. It refers to the effects on their body and mind that result from the absence of the drug. Sometimes these effects are mild, as with marijuana. Someone withdrawing from marijuana might experience some irritability, but will likely be just fine. On the other hand, withdrawing from benzodiazepines and alcohol can be fatal. Often, these kinds of addictions require medical detoxes. For that reason, they are beyond the scope of outpatient detox. Therefore, those struggling with addictions to benzodiazepines or alcohol would be better served by an inpatient detox. As with recovery journeys, no two people experience withdrawal exactly the same way. Age, gender, weight, and overall physical and mental health can all affect the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Who Is Outpatient Detox For?

Outpatient detox best serves those whose home life provides them an anchor in their struggle with addiction. If you consider your home life to be balanced and peaceful, then outpatient detox might be right for you. Routine is elemental for successful recovery, and those in recovery are best served by routines that promote health and flourishing. If your current work/life balance is helping you thrive, then outpatient detox is an option for you.

What Happens During Outpatient Detox?

During outpatient detox, you will receive medication to help alleviate the symptoms of your withdrawal. You will be observed by medical staff to ensure that your symptoms do not get worse. You may have an initial meeting with a therapist for a psychological evaluation. If you and your therapist determine that your home life would support an outpatient program, you will be released following your evaluation.

What Can Outpatient Detox Treat?

Provided that an addict has a balanced home life, outpatient detox can successfully treat opioid addiction. For opioid detox, doctors typically prescribe Suboxone (1). Suboxone can be effective in both outpatient and inpatient detox for combating opioid addiction. Used in conjunction with therapy, as in a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) plan, Suboxone helps to relieve withdrawal symptoms. In outpatient detox, a doctor and therapist will work with you to create a long-term treatment plan that best suits your needs.

Is Outpatient Detox Right For Me?

The single biggest variable that can determine the success of outpatient detox is your home life. You, your doctor, and your therapist would need to agree, of course. But if your home life is level and peaceful, then outpatient detox could be right for you. The next things to consider are the withdrawal symptoms of the particular substance you’re battling. Some require more intense detoxes and treatment plans. Talk with your doctor and therapist for more information.

What If I Still Have Questions?

If you’re struggling with addiction, or have questions about Harmony Treatment and Wellness’ Outpatient Detox Program, call us now at 772-247-6180.



(1) https://journals.lww.com/journaladdictionmedicine/Abstract/2007/06000/Two_year_Experience_with_Buprenorphine_naloxone.8.aspx