The  Pros and Cons of Alcoholics Anonymous

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The  Pros and Cons of Alcoholics Anonymous

Take what works and leave the rest

Alcoholics Anonymous and its sister programs are among the most recommended services for addiction support across the country and in many other regions of the world. The program has a lot going for it, and many believe that this is a strong service with many benefits for recovering from substance abuse problems. However, there have also been some criticisms leveled against the program, and it has been suggested that it might not be for everyone. So, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Alcoholics Anonymous and consider who might benefit from this program and who might not.

Pros:

  • It’s easily accessible

One of the biggest advantages of AA is that it is easily accessible. First, it is available in a lo of different countries  across the world and in many cities and small towns as well. This means that there are likely chapters of the organization available for someone looking for support. If there are no meetings near the person, it is possible to organize them. Secondly, AA is for everyone and people are not required to pay to access the services, even if donations are encouraged. This might make it a more affordable option for those who might struggle financially.

 

  • It creates a support network

AA’s main draw is that it helps create a support network between people who face similar challenges. They encounter others struggling with similar things and can find understanding and informed advice. Additionally, the AA system contributes to forming strong bonds between the attendants and encourages them to take responsibility for each other through the sponsorship system. Having social support can be highly beneficial, especially in cases where the person with addiction has become isolated from others or has been rejected by their other contacts. In some situations, the person might feel that others in their don’t understand them as well.

 

  • It offers structure

AA has a lot of structure. It has the 12-steps system, structured meetings, and other features that help make the person’s life more structured. This creates an additional support for those struggling with substance abuse and helps them rely on this structure to make their lives more organized as well. It also has a clear set of guidelines and protocols that are followed in different groups, so the person might move and still benefit from the structure they are accustomed to.

 

However, the AA has also been criticized for some aspects. It’s worth noting that many people find that AA is helpful even if the system is not entirely aligned with their ideas, however, for some the cons may be more significant.

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Cons:

  • It has religious undertones

AA was born as a Christian organization and the echoes of this origin can still be felt today. For instance, one very cited aspect is the  need to acknowledge a higher power, which is a part of the proposed steps. While the steps do not specify the higher power, this focus on the spiritual might be a turn-off for people with atheistic religious beliefs or those whose beliefs conflict with the ideas.

 

  • It might create a dependence on the system

Something that has been criticized in relation to AA is that it might foster a dependence on the system instead of on the substance. Some people become excessively involved in AA and it becomes the center of their support system to the expense of other aspects of their lives and development. AA promotes a view of addiction as something that is never overcome fully. While this view might be important to promote responsibility and accountability, some have argued that it also limites the options of the people who are part of the group and makes them dependent on AA throughout their lives.

 

  • It can vary by group

AA is a group ran by the people within it, so its effectiveness and support can vary significantly depending on where it is and how it is handled. For example, there are groups with those who attend AA by court order and are not significantly invested in being where, which might hurt the overall atmosphere if not properly addressed. Some AA meetings also are used unethically by people looking to sell drugs or for vulnerable people to hook up with. In many groups, this is effectively addressed but not always.

 

Overall, AA has helped a lot of people but, as anything, it has its pros and cons. For some, the cons may be more significant but it’s worth giving it a shot anyway. If you need help getting plugged into support groups or may be thinking about the idea of a sober house, call Valley Spring to find out exactly how they can help you get sorted with different recovery services and sober living in nyc.

 

Feel free to read our previous blog about if alcohol should be banned 

Should Alcohol Be Banned?

Considering the relationship between Culture & Alcohol

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There are many drugs that people can abuse. Many of these drugs are illegal, meaning that they are hard to get and usually expensive, but there are also legal drugs. If one considers the most popular legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco will probably be at the top. Alcohol, in particular, is a drug associated with many different issues. Alcohol contributes to car accidents, incidents of violence, accidents, fights, and is, in general, a drug that is frequently abused. It is also a drug that is freely available and sold to any adult, as well as cheaply available. So, should alcohol be banned?

It is important to consider that alcoholic beverages are an important part of most cultures. People see alcohol as something that is very normal. Culturally, alcohol plays a significant role. It is a part of daily meals, parties, and social gatherings. It is also a frequent topic of conversation. For many people, wines or beer are their main hobby and for many others, they are a source of income or work. Most people drink, in one way or another, and view alcohol as a central aspect of entertainment or enjoyment, and as a necessary element for social gatherings.

Attempts have been made to ban alcohol before, however, they have never been particularly successful. Rather than eliminating consumption, they led to the creation of underground networks and people making their own alcohol. All this shows that banning alcohol is not effective, but is it right that alcohol should be treated the same as it is now?

Alcohol ban sober living nyc valley spring recovery servicesIn many situations, the culture and society promote alcohol dependence or, at least, alcohol use. In many social environments, it is expected that the person will drink. Getting drunk is often seen as a rite of passage or as a funny experience that everyone should have. Not drinking is something people need to justify and might face pushback, especially in some environments. Even work events or formal social situations often feature wine and not drinking it in those contexts might be seen negatively. Young people can especially buy into the drinking culture and feel that to be fun or enjoyable an event needs to have alcohol. This culture associated with alcohol that views it as a necessary part of social interaction can be quite harmful.

Who does this harm? It harms young people who might develop bad drinking habits and might make poor decisions due to the influence of  alcohol. It  can harm people who have a predisposition for developing an addiction because it makes it more likely they will try alcohol and creates a context where this is encouraged, at least, initially. It can harm people in recovery or those with a distaste or allergies to alcohol.  It also creates a culture that can promote substance problems because people cannot see themselves having fun or being social without alcohol.

It is worth noting that moderate consumption of alcohol is not, by itself, harmful. It can be enjoyable and many people find that trying different types of wine or beer is fun for them and complements their life. However, the overall culture that exists around alcohol and that becomes more prominent in certain settings, like groups of young people, can be harmful because of its emphasis on alcohol.

So, rather than a ban on alcohol, it may be important to modify the culture concerning alcohol. This is associated with the view of drinking as cool and fun behavior, a view that is supported by the media. Instead, moderate consumption should be encouraged, as well as more awareness concerning the negative effects of alcohol. Alcohol should be seen as something that can complement a party or a gathering but should not be the center of it unless it is a wine-tasting event.

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The cultural shift concerning alcohol is likely to take a while. However, the cultural shift might change the problems with alcohol consumption. People can become addicted to many things. Illegal drugs are not, for example, usually supported socially or shared or viewed in a positive manner like alcohol. However, the culture around alcohol may hurt many people and encourage excessive drinking among many different people.

Overall, alcohol is not only legal but an important part of culture for many people. This culture has its upsides and its downsides because it promotes drinking as normative behavior. Of course, this can vary depending on an individual’s social circle or their subculture but people who do not drink are less common than those who do, which is often seen as the default. This can be a factor that may contribute to substance abuse problems in some people but the only possible way to address it is through a cultural shift.

If you or a loved one is seeking recovery services or quality sober living, contact Valley Spring to discuss how they can help you. If you’d like to learn more information about sober houses click the hyperlink. Whether you are in NYC, Boston, or California, Valley Spring will help you get connected.

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Feel free to read our previous blog about being happy and drug free.

Happy and Drug-Free

How to become happier without drugs in the equation

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At some point in our lives, we have come across many success stories of how different individuals have embarked on life-changing journeys and have found the true meaning of happiness.

These people have faced some daunting life situations and have come out stronger and happier than they were. They could achieve this fit because of the positive attitude they choose to see all the obstacles that were laid in their path. Drugs have never had anything to do with it and their thinking was never dulled by it either.

Life is full of uncertainties and everybody have their own challenges. Nobody has a perfect life and everyone has a different approach to dealing with life issues. But to ensure your happiness and that of the people around you who really matter, you need to learn how to be positive, how to overcome the difficulties in your life without succumbing to drugs.

Drugs only cloud your sense of reasoning and prevent you from achieving your true potential, making you lose focus of the real essence of life – that is to be happy and be a good ambassador to your society.

When you learn to say no to drugs, you have succeeded in breaking free from the chain that has made you a slave to its desire and you open your mind to a whole new brighter universe. You will be able to be of help to the people around as now you are focused on the things that really matter in your life.

Here are some tips on how to be happy and drug-free:

  • Set realistic targets for yourself: when you know what you want your future to be like and set targets you want to achieve, you are less likely to do drugs. As these targets will serve as a reminder of what you aim to achieve in future whenever the temptation to do drugs arises. It also helps to boost your confidence.
  • Spend time with loved ones: spending time with people who love you that don’t do drugs is a great way to abstaining from drugs. The support, love and advice from your loved will help keep you on the right track.
  • Do things that will make you feel good:  most times people do drugs because they want to “feel good”. But there are so many activities that can make you feel better than drugs, all you have to do is find which one interest you better and pick it as a hobby.
  • Learn to say no and be assertive about it: most times people do drugs due to peer pressure, but when you learn to say no and stick to it, defeating such temptation becomes easy. One thing you should know is that friends who truly love you would not want you to follow the wrong path.

Many people have gone down the path of drugs and caused some serious damage to themselves that they regret every day but that doesn’t have to be you. You can be happy, better, of great significance to someone’s life and most importantly you can be drug-free.

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If you or a loved one is battling with addiction and need help, please call Valley Spring. One of their recovery consultants will help you get plugged into the best recovery services and sober living offered in NYC. If you’re interested in taking the next step or learning more about sober homes, visit the hyperlink here.

Feel free to read our previous blog post about the importance of sober homes.

 

 

The Importance of Sober Homes

Explore the benefits of sober living

For the benefit of those of us that may not have heard of sober homes — sometimes commonly referred to as halfway homes–is a place free from drugs and alcohol that is set aside for victims recovering from addiction. These residencies are home to sober individuals trying to recover at their own pace while remaining within a structured environment before being re-introduced into independent living. These homes are usually privately owned and not covered by insurance.

When substance abuse users decide to stop the negative addiction and cleanse their system, depending on the particular drug, the individual is likely to need  detox followed by rehabilitation. After rehab is completed, it will usually be recommended the individual continues their treatment at outpatient.  This is where sober homes come into play. These homes accommodate individuals seeking recovery–they will work with them at their own pace until they are better positioned to go back into society and begin independent living. Usually sober living houses only accept new residents that come straight from rehab. The sober living home offers many benefits to residents such as a safe, comfortable and recovery oriented atmosphere, surrounded by like-minded individuals all (hopefully) seeking self-improvement.

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After gaining admittance to a sober home, there are rules and regulations which are promoted internally, so that residents can benefit from the full experience each home has to offer. Of course, rules vary from house to house but here are some typical rules:

  • No drugs or alcohol of any kinds
  • Patients are to submit to a drug test whenever they are called forth
  • Patients are to attend a 12 meeting group therapy sessions
  • No violence allowed
  • Participation in school work and school fees paid on time.
  • Guests are not allowed to spend the night. Patients are allowed to go out anytime and come back, but they must adhere to the rules.
  • These homes are very vital in an addict’s life because:

Professional guidance and help:

  • Most sober homes are staffed with professionals that are in-house that have become sober and remained sober. They can understand the addicts and hence offer sincere help with guidance for them to recover and remain sober

Basic life skill:

  • Being in a sober home does not mean that rehab is all you do there; basic home skills are also taught to help you live well when you eventually leave home. They learn basic skills such as patience, self-suffiency, working in a team, etc.

Peace of life for the family:

  • Having to cater for an addict can be a lot of stress on family finances and relationship. The sober home installs some much-needed peace back into families and helps them work together with the sober homes to get their loved ones back on track.

Guarantee recovery:

  • Difficult as it may seem, recovery and living a healthy life after drugs and alcohol is very possible. In fact, millions of people around the globe have doe it! The sober house is one place that can help get your life back on track — only if you are ready to follow through with all that is on the table.

Sober homes are have been around for quite some times and they play a critical part in the recovery process by providing a space for individuals to transition back into the “real” world to independent living.

 

Valley Spring offers terrific NYC sober living and recovery services. If you’d like to read more information about the topic of sober houses do so by clicking hyperlink.  Or feel inspired to read our previous blog post about 5 reasons why using drugs to suppress rage is bad.

5 Reasons Why Using Drugs to Suppress Rage is Bad

When future expectations go unmet.

Anger is an outward, intense emotional response that comes from frustration, malice, provocation, threat, depression or from being or is violated by an external force. Anger is generally a feeling that comes from masking hurt, fear, neglect, and longtime accumulation of hurtful feeling. Physiologically, anger has a dangerous impact on the human body. An anger person experiences increase heartbeat, increase blood pressure, adrenaline pumping through the system, muscle tension, stammering and lack of control. With all this said, anger is the natural way that the body reacts to being threatened.

Suppressed anger is the number one underlying cause of diseases such as depression, anxiety and a host of others that have ruined relationships and lives. Anger is meant to be released as it is the body’s way of warning us of imminent danger, and how we should react in such cases by ‘fight or flight’. When we suppress this anger, there is always a breaking point due to excessive accumulation of provocation.

However, the use of drugs to suppress anger is highly discouraged and not recommended by physicians. Anger and drugs is a nightmare waiting to be awoken. Though there are many drugs to curb anger, they all have side and long-term negative effect on the patient. These drugs used to suppress anger causes rage, which is a symptom when the drugs attack the brain causing the person to be aggressive and a danger to themselves and their immediate environments.

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Some drugs such as statins have been discovered to increase the rate of rage in women by altering their moods making them more aggressive, suicidal, and homicidal rather than calming them down. The drug statins are usually prescribed to women with high cholesterol. Other drugs like birth control pill, asthma drugs were found to harbor a more sinister danger by making you more aggressive, violently jealous and suicidal.

Feelings of anger have been linked to withdrawal symptoms amongst drug addicts. A study has shown that addicts who turn to drugs and alcohol rather than express their anger and rage are heading for a cycle of boundless destruction. Using drugs to suppress rage only makes you more aggressive when provokes which can cause physical reactions such as kicking, punching, and bouts of violence and becoming emotional blackmailers to loved ones and family
Fatigue and chronic pain are some signs of drug suppressed rage.

This is because these drugs calm you by continually forcing yourself to bottle up negative anger and angry situation. This is known as suppression or forceful prevention. Such cases have a negative impact on our digestive system, our heart and other vital organs of the body.
So when provoked to anger, practice breathing exercises or get yourself into an anger management program to be a better person.

If you or a loved one is struggling with anger, Valley Spring can help you get connected with some of the best anger management professionals in the industry. If someone you love is also struggling with addiction, Valley Spring can also help to connect them to recovery services and quality sober living in NYC. To learn more general information feel free to read up about sober living here. And if you’re eager to read more articles related to addiction and recovery, feel free to read our previous post about being there for friends who suffer from addiction.