Articles On Recovery

By Jodi MacNeal 20 Jan, 2018
Two days after the 1986 NBA draft, No. 2 pick Len Bias was dead of cardiac arrest after of a cocaine overdose.

Len Bias: Best player Maryland had ever seen (maybe the best Maryland player ever, depending on how you feel about Juan Dixon). The future of the Celtics. About to sign an endorsement deal with Reebok. Life was perfect.

Cocaine killed that. He was 22.

Bias hadn’t left home to play college ball; he was a home-grown talent who came up just outside D.C. and played ball in Maryland so he wouldn’t have to leave his family. He had a future as wide-open and promising as any kid, ever. Already a star, a freak of athletic power and poise, he might have changed the world of professional basketball. He’d fueled the dreams of a thousand city kids who wanted to play like him, be him. He swaggered, Len Bias did. His opponents couldn’t fathom him: “He’d jump and his knees would be in my teeth.” He dunked on guys, whether he needed to or not, just because he could. Len Bias could fly.

And then cocaine ended him.

Here’s how it went down: Bias and three buddies were snorting coke in a dorm room, suite 1103 in Washington Hall. Bias did a line, tried to get up, fell back on the bad and lapsed into seizure. One guy held his legs. Another one put the handle of a pair of scissors in Bias’s mouth, to keep him from biting his own tongue. The third somehow called 911 and mumbled, over and over, that his friend was in trouble. Kept saying his friend’s name, even when the emergency operator told him it didn’t matter. “This is Len Bias. You have to get him back to life. There’s no way he can die.”

But drugs don’t differentiate. Substance use, abuse and addiction have attacked athletes across the spectrum of sport.

By Paul Henry & Aaron Mills 27 Dec, 2017
  • Is it the stresses of life without the drug they ran to for help? No.
  • Is it the living environments most men and woman are heading back to? No.
  • Is it the fact that Post Acute withdrawal lasts up to your first year of sobriety? No.
By Aaron Mills 19 Dec, 2017
Childhood plays a role in addiction, just as it plays a role in all future adult behavior. For good or ill, what happens to us when we are small will have a lasting impact. One in ten people reported to having been sworn at, insulted, or put down on a regular basis by a parent or another adult in their home. One in four people in the same adverse childhood experiences study said that they were regularly pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at them. 

One third of women and nearly one fifth of men reported an adult tried to sexually abuse them at some point during their childhood. 

Only one third of those in the study reported not having adverse experiences as a child. That is a staggering number. That implies two out of three of us had some form of abuse when we were very small. 
By Aaron Mills 15 Dec, 2017
People who have experienced trauma are four times more likely to become alcoholics. They are four times more likely to inject drugs, and three times more likely to be on anti-depressant drugs. These numbers are alarming, but even more alarming is that survivors of trauma are 15 times more likely to commit suicide.

Trauma impacts a person’s life in many ways. Survivors are three times more likely to have serious problems at work, and to experience depression.

Decreased activity in the brain's prefrontal lobe leads to less logical behavior and more impulsive behavior. Executive functioning becomes disengaged, adrenal glands release cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.

This has a physical manifestation as continued stress leads to weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, poor concentration, depression, infertility, and cold intolerance.

The digestive tract slows down and the heart and lungs are impacted because of the increased need for oxygen in a fight or flight situation.
People often wonder how someone can become a prisoner to repeated trauma. Martin Seligman’s learned helplessness experiment gives us an idea of how this has a longterm frontal lobe effect, essentially changing one's brain chemistry and keeping them from using logic to escape their circumstances.

In this experiment, painful shocks were given to trapped dogs. When the cages were opened the dogs just whimpered, but did not escape. When new dogs (with working frontal lobes not impacted by trauma) were put into the cages, they escaped immediately.

This is a very sick experiment by any standard, but it gives us a clear window into the kinds of impulsive and non-logical component of trauma and its effects on behavior.

How many times have you heard someone say, “Addiction is not a disease. It’s a choice.” We expect people to be rational actors in their own lives and in the choices they make.

But in the case of people who have experienced trauma, logic is suppressed by the body's self-defense and survival mechanisms.

Longterm stressful situations create a longterm decrease in frontal lobe activity. This produces havoc on the body and health in general.

When people experience trauma, it can create a compulsion to repeat the trauma. This seems very strange at face value because it is not logical, but it is simple brain chemistry. The strong emotions shut down the frontal lobe and the body produces morphine-like substances to face the challenge. The body's own drug factory goes into play.

The brain remembers these strong chemicals, and seeks to return to this source of pain and pleasure. The anxiety a person is feeling can be resolved by returning to the trauma.

In addiction we see this kind of behavior on a regular basis. People want to create drama and turmoil in their lives, and the presence of the chaos puts their bodies into drug manufacturing mode and gets them high.

In essence, the brain can become habituated or addicted to trauma.

The limbic system sees increased activity, which leads to more emotion and anxiety. This puts a person in a situation where emotions trump reason. Logic is out the window.
By Aaron Mills 07 Dec, 2017

We compiled a list of the most addicting video games of the recent past. Just because they’re addicting, doesn’t make them terrible and something that should be avoided. Don’t forget, it’s not the game’s fault...there is no addicting substances in video games that make people addicted. If you find yourself or someone you love is addicted to video games, seek treatment at an addiction recovery center that offers treatment for video game addiction.

By Aaron Mills 07 Dec, 2017

A lot of people are abusing prescription drugs , and have been for a long time. Most of these people aren’t even young adults. In fact, the latest reports cite that middle aged people are most likely to abuse prescription drugs. We’ve covered a lot of different views on prescription drugs and drug addiction, but something that is often swept under the rug is the widespread abuse of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Here, we’re going to take a look at some of the common OTC drugs that teens are abusing, so you can be aware of the dangers that may be lurking in your medicine cabinet.

By Aaron Mills 28 Nov, 2017

As we continue to make progress in recovery, we must eventually face the reality of the harm we have done to other people's lives as a direct result of our actions.

In simple terms, we can’t have the opportunity for forgiveness until we take ownership of the damage that we have done.

We do this for the simple reason that it is the right thing to do. But the impact of making amends extends so much farther, and no matter why else we do it, we do it for ourselves and our own future well-being.

Living with shame and guilt is one of the best ways to guarantee a relapse. When we come face-to-face with what we have done to other people, and to their lives, it leads to feelings of sadness, remorse, and shame. This is a normal human response to doing something wrong. We are indeed meant to feel guilty for hurting other people.

This is the ground zero moment when we can begin to forgive ourself for abusing other people. It is also the moment when we can decide to try and mend the broken relationships left in the wake of our addiction .

By Aaron Mills 22 Nov, 2017
By Aaron Mills 21 Nov, 2017

Relapse is not a stage in the forward progress of recovery, but a regression into the addiction. Addicts may relapse from any stage of motivation for a variety of reasons.

Internationally known addiction and relapse expert Terry Gorski suggests that this is an inside-out process with changes in internal thinking leading to external lapses. At times, great upheaval in the outside world may also contribute to the process. The truth is that addictions are baffling and cunning; nothing and everything may be the cause.

Another truth, however, is that most people are very simple in their relapse; it is usually the same people, places, and things that lead to relapses. Along the way, each addict develops his or her own unique way to relapse. Noting this and then discovering what that pattern looks like  is a great way to avoid it.

By Aaron Mills 13 Nov, 2017
If you or a loved one are struggling with opiate addiction, there is hope. At Desert Rose Recovery we have worked with people from all walks of life find the lasting freedom from addiction they didn't know was possible. We can help you, and we care about what happens to you. Please call us today at  (844) 338-5587.
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