All Posts By

Brandon Duncan

5 Tips for Getting Into a Recovery Mindset

By Stepworks Connect

Here at the Stepworks Connect blog, we talk a lot about why it’s a good idea to seek treatment if you’re struggling with a dependency on drugs or alcohol. Contacting a treatment program for admission can be a life-changing decision and a milestone in your life. So what’s next? Addiction treatment programs are made to guide personal change and growth. That means the results of going into addiction treatment depend greatly on how you approach it and how you navigate the program during your stay there. In other words, your mindset, attitude, and expectations can contribute to your treatment success! Can you think of ways to start getting into a recovery mindset to make the most out of treatment?

Read More

4 Types of Addiction Treatment: What’s the Difference?

By Stepworks Connect

Getting help in the form of professional treatment is the next step for someone who thinks they have a substance use problem. But that next step can be confusing for those who are unfamiliar with the different types of addiction treatment that are available. What’s the difference between residential, outpatient, and other kinds of professional help for addiction? Which one might be right for you or your loved one?

Read More

Tips for Motivating an Addicted Loved One to Seek Treatment

By Stepworks Connect

It’s very common to be confused about how to help an addicted loved one. Addictions can go ignored by family members or friends who don’t want to push their addicted loved one away. Others have extreme reactions to finding out their loved ones are using drugs and just cut the addicted loved ones out of their lives altogether. Neither of these responses are likely to be ideal for helping a loved one onto the path to recovery. Most people would probably like to find a happy medium between saying nothing and completely alienating an addicted loved one. How can you help motivate a loved one to seek treatment for a substance use problem?

Read More

Have an Addicted Loved One? Here Are 3 Reasons Why You Can Help

By Stepworks Connect

Finding out that a loved one might be struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction sometimes creates a difficult situation. Family members or close friends of an addicted loved one can be concerned about their welfare but also unsure what to do about it. Doubts about intervening might cause family members or friends to put off any conversations about drug use, and as time goes on, their addicted loved one continues to use, falling deeper into addiction.

It’s an understandable reluctance. I know I should say something, but what if they don’t take it well? How can I help if they shut me out of their life? Is it really any of my business? It isn’t uncommon to have thoughts like that, but we should look at a few reasons why it’s important to push through the doubts and talk to your addicted loved one about their problem. These three reasons to talk to your addicted loved one show that the benefits of helping your loved one far outweigh the costs of letting an addiction continue without speaking up.

Read More

Prioritizing Treatment Still the Best Response to Heroin Epidemic

By Stepworks Connect

In 2017 it’s nearly impossible to be ignorant of the levels of drug addiction ravaging communities in the United States. Stories of heroin overdose epidemics or community harm reduction efforts have become a daily feature of news and social media. Just this week The Guardian reported on a study of the heroin epidemic that found that heroin use in the U.S. is about five times greater today than it was a decade ago. Some demographics studied saw an even greater jump in heroin use. What’s being done to stem the rise in addiction?

Read More

News Roundup: Will healthcare bill roll back addiction treatment?

By Addiction News, Stepworks Connect

U.S. House mulls deal to repeal addiction coverage guarantee

Republican congressional leaders proposed a change to their health care replacement bill that would remove the requirement for insurance companies to provide coverage for mental health and substance use treatment. The lawmakers are considering scrapping the “ten essential health benefits” in effort to garner more votes for the American Health Care Act, which would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

The change would affect individual market plans, but the AHCA in its current form had already done away with the essential health benefits protection for Medicaid plans. The law would also gradually roll back the Medicaid expansion through which many have been able to access addiction treatment services. One recent report by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky found that Kentuckians newly covered by the Medicaid expansion saw a 740 percent increase in substance use treatment services.

A vote on the health care bill is expected to take place today, with the outcome uncertain. Lawmakers have faced criticism for how the bill would roll back addiction coverage and access to addiction services during the ongoing epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose.

Spring breakers at risk of encountering $5 overdose pill

Officials in Pinellas County, Florida, have issued a warning about pills that look like Xanax but contain the highly potent fentanyl. Users could be completely unaware that the pills contain the potentially fatal substance, and officials have linked the pills to nine deaths in recent weeks. They say the pills are so potent that a single pill could induce a fatal overdose. The officials noted that the situation is especially dangerous given how cheaply the pills can be obtained. One pill is said to cost just five dollars. Those going on spring break in the region should be wary of taking any pills recreationally, as well as knowing the risks of mixing opioids with other substances.

medication disposal, harm reduction, addiction treatment

Kentucky doubles down on drug harm reduction services

While increasing access to addiction treatment is essential to countering the opioid epidemic, harm reduction services are also a vitally important aspect to fixing the country’s serious drug problems. New services in two Kentucky regions aim to enhance Kentucky’s harm reduction abilities. In Northern Kentucky, community leaders are looking at a convenient medication disposal service as a way of intervening before some addictions get started. Because many have become addicted first by using medications that were legally prescribed, easy disposal of excess medications could stop them getting into the wrong hands and leading to new addictions. The disposal pouches destroy the drugs placed inside them and can be thrown away by the consumer. Officials hope that distributing the pouches for free across Northern Kentucky will lead to a reduction in addiction sufferers.

In Madison County, Kentucky, the health department announced plans to introduce a mobile needle exchange program. The service will build on Kentucky’s growing resource of needle exchanges, with at least 15 other such programs operating in the state. These programs are effective at harm reduction, reducing the number of needles that could be infected with a diseases like the hepatitis virus or bacteria that lead to dangerous infections. In addition, the clean needles that will be distributed will be one-time use only, discouraging the dangerous practices of sharing or reusing needles. Needle exchange programs are often beneficial not only for harm reduction, but also for creating points of contact for drug users to receive encouragement to seek treatment.

Want more addiction-related stories? Subscribe to the Stepworks Connect Newsletter to receive the latest articles on addiction and recovery!

Stepworks Connect Newsletter

Header image by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
The above image is owned by Trainer Academy

Injection Drug Use: How Risky Is It?

By Stepworks Connect

Out of all the ways that addictive drugs are used, using needles to inject drugs into the bloodstream can carry the greatest risks to one’s health. While it’s pretty widely known that injecting drugs is associated with hard drug use and high risk for overdose, many people aren’t aware of the range of harmful consequences that can come from just one use of a needle.

Read More

I Might Have an Addiction. Now What?

By Stepworks Connect

No one wants to be addicted to drugs or alcohol, and it can be difficult to accept that you might have an addiction. You’ve probably heard that only 10–11 percent of people who need substance use treatment are getting it. There are different reasons for that treatment gap, not all of them personal. But there are many people who don’t get the help they need because they either don’t know if they have an addiction, or they don’t know what to do about it.

For those who haven’t had any experience in the addiction treatment community, the range of providers and services can be daunting. It’s easy to put off getting help if the next step isn’t clear to you. What should you do if you think you might have a substance use problem?

Read More

Expensive naloxone injector raises concerns in the treatment community

By Addiction News

If you’re aware of the opioid addiction epidemic, you’ve probably heard the word “naloxone.” This medication, which reverses an overdose from opioid drugs, has been central to efforts to combat rising rates of overdose deaths. Many efforts to address the crisis have focused on getting forms of this overdose aid into the hands of anyone who might be involved in an overdose situation. But one medical device company is taking heat for a dramatic hike in the price of a popular naloxone injector device.

Read More

11 Tips for Staying Motivated in Recovery

By Stepworks Connect

Motivation is a crucial component to recovery because it defines the reasons why we act or behave in a particular way. Often in early recovery, motivation levels are high and there are plans and ideas in place to remain sober. However, as time passes, our motivation to remain sober can begin to decrease for various reasons. Perhaps life has become stressful, work is overwhelming, and life doesn’t seem as fun sober. When recovery fatigue strikes, relapse becomes a concern. So what are some ways to ensure you’re staying motivated in recovery? These tips can help:

Connect with the recovery community

In today’s world there are more and more opportunities to connect and interact with recovery communities. Of course, there are the traditional AA/ NA and Celebrate Recovery meetings, but there are also several other options. Many online social media communities allow you to connect and interact with other recovering addicts from all over the world. Additionally, there are online meetings and interactive chat sessions one can participate in to stay connected. And staying connected is a sure-fire way of staying motivated as you set out on a lifelong recovery journey.

staying motivated, addiction treatment, addiction recovery, relapse prevention, recovery goals, addiction treatment goals

Set achievable goals

A great way to stay motivated is to set both short-term and long-term goals. Setting goals and having “checkpoints” can keep you on track and give you rewarding feelings of accomplishment and progress toward a goal. Make sure goals are measurable (How do you know how close you are to achieving it?) and specific (Can you clearly define when your goal will be met?).

Create a gratitude list

Recovery is not a smooth journey—there will be both good times and difficult times. Being able to find something to be grateful for, in both the good and the difficult times, can keep you on the path to recovery. Get in the habit of making daily lists, and remember—there is always something to be grateful for in recovery!

Keep a recovery journal, blog, or videos

As time passes, it can be easy to forget our beginning struggles and the reasons we had for wanting to get sober. We might become complacent if we feel we haven’t made progress. By keeping a journal, blog, or video-blog, you can more easily see the progress and growth of your journey, making staying motivated an easier task. You might even have a desire to share your writings or videos with others who are struggling (—which would be service work!).

staying motivated, recovery planning, living sober, addiction recovery tips

Create structure

Chaos can be overwhelming. By having a structured schedule of healthy and positive activities from day to day,  you can create a sense of order in your life. This is also a great way to improve your goal-setting and goal-reaching work.

Work a 12-step program

Working the 12 steps with a sponsor can help guide you and keep you motivated to continue the progress in your journey of recovery. These programs provide a reliable resource for accountability, fellowship, and spirituality.

Service Work

A well-known quote in Alcoholics Anonymous is, “To keep it, you must give it away.” Helping others who are struggling can give people hope and strength to continue with their own recovery. It allows people to recognize where they are and how far they have come in their journey. Service work can look different for everyone. It could be as little as offering a ride to a meeting or setting up chairs and making coffee, or it could be as much as becoming a sponsor or acting as a guest speaker at a local event.

staying motivated, recovery health, addiction treatment help, drug recovery tips, addiction therapy

Practice self-care

Make sure you try to take at least 20 to 30 minutes a day doing something you enjoy for yourself. It is easy to get caught up in the busy routines of life: work, relationships, meetings, obligations—the list goes on. If we don’t balance our lives and do things we enjoy, we might become overwhelmed and stressed. Take the time to read, journal, meditate, pray, exercise, practice a hobby, or listen to music.

Connect spiritually to a higher power

One can find meaning in spirituality through organized religions, AA/ NA groups, nature, music, groups of people, or an understanding of a higher power. Spirituality can change, evolve, and grow over time. Feeling connected to something bigger than yourself can help keep you motivated and accountable to continue your recovery journey.

Maintain healthy sleep, eating, and exercise habits

Addiction can wreak havoc on our bodies. Sticking to healthy habits can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety and decrease bad moods. Getting enough sleep, exercise, and water and fueling our bodies with healthy foods can help us feel good both physically and mentally.

staying motivated, eating healthy in recovery, addiction recovery diet, relapse prevention, sober diet, healthy in recovery, recovery motivation

Seek help if you are struggling

Recovery is a journey, and that means there will be bumps along the way. It’s about progress, not perfection. Everyone struggles during their journey, and being honest about our struggles allows us to reach out to those who are supportive and willing to help. Build a support system, and use it, too! The people you reach out to might be able to help re-spark your motivation, but they’ll never be able to help if you don’t speak up when you’re in need.

— Ashley M. Stuck, MSSW, CSW