Tips for Staying Drug Free

In honor of the upcoming Red Ribbon Week (October 23–31, 2016), Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers want to encourage those just entering recovery from a substance use disorder to find the support they need to continue living a life free of drugs and alcohol. Recovery consists of several stages. Completing treatment and returning to everyday life can be one of the most challenging for those who have struggled with substance use—changing routines and confronting triggers can be overwhelming. As well as attending outpatient aftercare and/or support groups, there are things that can be done in your personal life to help stay focused and feel supported. The following are a few tips to help remain drug free during this difficult but transformative time in recovery.

Stay busy by setting short-term goals. Occupying your time combats the boredom that can cause relapse. Before bed, make a to-do list for the next day. Perhaps you’d like to submit a job application, mow the lawn, and call a friend. Making habits to stay busy during the day will gradually disrupt the association to drugs and alcohol, and will also boost productivity and confidence.

young fitness woman tying shoelaces on trailSweat it out. Try to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of physical exercise. According to a study at the Mayo Clinic, exercise helps reduce stress, improves mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety, improves sleep, and boosts mood. If you’re new to working out, don’t be intimidated. The study suggests that a simple brisk walk is enough to reap these benefits.

Cut out toxic relationships. Don’t “test” yourself with unhealthy friendships or romances. Take responsibility for your recovery by being honest with unhealthy influences. Ask for their respect in your new lifestyle and need for space. Ending it doesn’t mean the other person is “bad.” You’re not assigning blame—only maintaining your own well-being.

Meeting Of Support Group

Utilize your support system. Support networks may include family, friends, colleagues, recovery meeting participants, sponsors, or therapists. You may find that verbalizing your feelings, even when you don’t want to, will help you conceptualize and take responsibility for the next steps necessary. Also remember that your support system isn’t only there to help you through the bad—together, you can celebrate the good!

Self-care and awareness are the focus of these tips. When times get tough, remind yourself that you’ll want to remember this time of adjustment. Valuable lessons and insights are being gained for your use down the road.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drugs or alcohol, learn more at RecoverGateway.org, or call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers for a confidential consultation at 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Pekin Community Unite to ‘Fight the Fight’ Against Addiction with TWO Events

Please join members of the Pekin Community on Sunday, August 7th in the first annual ‘Fight the Fight’ Addiction Awareness Walk at Mineral Springs Park in Pekin, IL. The walk is from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and does not require registration. All community members are invited.

iStock_000022659105SmallThis short, scenic walk will be accompanied by speakers on the to pics of recovery, the
disease of addiction, Narcan and harm reduction, a coroner’s report  and more. Speakers include those who have lost their loved ones to addiction, individuals in recovery, Gateway Treatment Centers, Tazewell County Coroner, Pekin Police Department and more. A short “fight song” will  be performed while balloons are released to honor and remember those who lost their battle with addiction.

Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers and JM Industrial Supply are the Gold Level sponsors of this walk.

Following the walk, Gateway invites all community members to visit the Pekin treatment center and enjoy light snacks and refreshments from 4:30pm-6:30pm. Gateway’s substance abuse treatment experts will be available to answer questions about drug and alcohol abuse and treatment options available. Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers would like to extend a special thank you to our local Hyvee and Panera Bread for their generous donations towards the open house event immediately following the awareness walk.

The Fight the Fight group was formed in 2016 by a local family who lost their son to a heroin overdose. In an effort to help others struggling with addiction, the family aims to bring awareness to addiction and treatment options.

To learn more about heroin abuse and treatment options visit RecoverGateway.org

New Year’s Resolutions Can Increase your Chance of Success with Drug Rehab

new years resloutionThose who make New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to change their behavior than those who don’t, according to researchers at the University of Scranton. A resolution to enter drug rehab can be an important first step towards a new and better future.

Every New Year brings a significant increase in people accessing drug rehab, so anyone resolving to break free of their addiction won’t be alone, according to Gilbert Lichstein Program Director at the Chicago West facility of Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers.

“One of the best predictors for success in treatment is one’s readiness to change.  Committing to change, like making a New Year’s resolution, means you’re more likely to succeed,” Lichstein said.

Setting specific goals can increase the chance of a New Year’s resolution succeeding: simply resolving to lose weight is not as effective as deciding to exercise a set number of days each week. Those looking to break free of addiction can increase their chance of success by resolving to enter a drug rehab program in January of the New Year.

Enlisting the support of friends and family members can also help a New Year’s resolution succeed.

“Many people will spend the holidays with their friends and loved ones. This is a great opportunity to share your resolution with them and rally their support,” Lichstein said. “If a drugs and alcohol have isolated you from those you care about, treatment can put you on the path to reconnect with them.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or drugs, visit recovergateway.org or call 877-505-4673 to learn more about treatment options, insurance coverage, and Gateway’s free, confidential consultation.

Gateway Aurora Executive Director Collaborates with Daily Herald to Educate Community on Heroin Addiction Treatment

heroin addiciton treatmetn

Video produced and distributed by Daily Herald

Jim Scarpace, Executive Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers in Aurora, IL recently provided the Daily Herald with information regarding heroin addiction treatment.

Scarpace said, “With heroin, you’re always trying to chase that initial high that you could never re-create. In treatment, you learn the skill to manage the distorted behaviors associated with addiction…Treatment isn’t magic, but give it time, and it can work.”

“Treatment is a lifelong process,” Scarpace says. “If treatment was a magic bullet, we wouldn’t have these issues we’re having [with heroin abuse in our community].”1

Read the full article from the Daily Herald at dailyherald.com.

Learn more about heroin addiction treatment at RecoverGateway.org/Heroin or call our 24-Hour Helpline at 877-505-HOPE (4673)

1 http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20150125/news/150129178/

Springfield Gateway Event Focuses on Re-entering the Workplace Following Substance Abuse Treatment

drug rehab, Gateway Springfield, Alcohol & Drug Treatment

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Springfield

Forty people gathered for food, fellowship and information at a January 21st alumni event sponsored by Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Springfield. The no-cost event featured guest speakers on the topic of workplace re-entry following substance abuse treatment.

Attendees gained valuable insight on the pertinent topics of Self-care and Perseverance, presented by alumna Jamie B; and Resume, Application and Interview Tips offered by Springfield Gateway’s Tammy Kmett.

The gathering, which included food and giveaways, was attended by 19 Gateway alumni and 14 current residents. Gateway Springfield employees present were Julie Pena, Alumni Specialist; Amy Taylor, OP Counsellor II; and speaker, Tammy Kmett, Patient Financial Counselor.

The two-hour alumni event was held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Gateway Springfield, 2200 Lake Victoria Drive.

Gateway Springfield provides substance abuse treatment services for teens and adults. With centers located throughout Illinois and the St. Louis East Metro area, Gateway’s professional clinicians have facilitated the successful completion of treatment for thousands of individuals.

Learn more about Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers by calling 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Comprehensive Guide Offers Families Direction in Understanding Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Click to View Gateway's Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families

The more you know, the better you will understand down the road how to approach someone who may be abusing alcohol and/or drugs.  That’s why Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment created a handy Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Families.

Rest assured you aren’t traveling this road alone. Gateway’s Roadmap for Understanding Substance Abuse is a booklet packed with useful information and tips for spouses, parents and friends to help identify whether or not substance abuse is a driving issue related to other problems and what to do about it.

Download “Roadmap to Understanding Substance Abuse to:

  • Learn about the risks associated with alcohol, marijuana and heroin use.
  • Discover tips for discussing alcohol and drug use with your children.
  • Find out about treatment options available for substance use disorders.

Click here for your free copy>

If someone you care about is struggling with substance abuse, Gateway can help. Visit RecoverGateway.org or call 877-505-4673 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

The DO’s of Encouraging Patient Self-Efficacy

As a healthcare professional, you’re in a unique position to encourage your patients to change certain behaviors that pose a risk to their health, such as smoking cigarettes, heavy drinking or drug abuse. But what’s the best approach when there’s evidence that substance abuse is taking a toll on a patients’ health?

First, let’s review some improper assumptions regarding behavior change for patients.

  • This person ought to change.
  • This person wants to change.
  • This patient’s health is the prime motivating factor for him/her.
  • If he or she does not decide to change, the consultation has failed.
  • Patients are either motivated to change, or not.
  • I’m the expert. He or she must follow my advice.

Responsibilities of the Patient

substance abuse patient, gateway treatment centersTo encourage patient enlightenment, it’s important to take the necessary time to clarify sensible drinking guidelines and health risks posed by drug use that patients disclose. However, when it comes to addressing change itself, motivational interviewing (MI) is extremely useful. MI promotes self-efficacy by placing responsibility of change on the patients themselves rather than advising patients to change. Indeed, trying to convince patients to change can actually undermine their self-efficacy. The DO’s of encouraging patient self-efficacy during health interventions:

  • DO elicit patient’s own thoughts, feelings, ambivalence, and motivation to change.
  • DO refine and practice your listening skills.
  • DO roll with resistance rather than confronting or opposing it.
  • DO use open-ended questions, which require patients to think and reflect.
  • DO use affirming statements to promote self-efficacy and acknowledge personal challenges.
  • DO use reflections to communicate respect and clarify exactly what the patient means.
  • DO summarize at conclusion of conversation to reinforce what patients said and prepare them to move forward.

It can take weeks or months for a patient to decide professional treatment for substance abuse is best for them. When they are ready, Gateway Treatment Centers offer a free, confidential consultation to help adults and teens understand their personalized substance abuse treatment options.

Congressman Bill Foster Addresses Heroin Issues in Our Community

congressman bill foster, gateway, heroin issues, illinois

Pictured (l to r): Pam Davis, Silver Cross Hospital; Larry Dunbar, Bremen Youth Center; Gloria Bloodsaw, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers; Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL11); Katheryn Wiedman, Stepping Stones; Mardi Wunderlich, Joliet Police Department; and Maria De Leon, Office of Congressman Bill Foster.

Gloria Bloodsaw, Outreach Coordinator, represented Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers at the Southwest Coalition’s holiday luncheon on December 17, 2014. Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL11) presented on the heroin use issues the Chicago suburban communities are facing.

According to Illinois Consortium of Drug Policy at Roosevelt University, in the past 5 years heroin use has increased 75 percent; and the Illinois State Crime Commission reports heroin use in Illinois is an epidemic. To enhance public awareness, Gateway offers a host of reliable resources on this dangerous drug trend at RecoverGateway.org/Heroin.

Is That an Elephant in Your Exam Room?: How to Talk to Patients About Substance Abuse Treatment

As a health care professional, your role is to collaborate with patients in regards to their state of health and wellness. Together, you search for clues and evidence to either identify or rule out potential health risks and discuss strategies to enhance wellness. Understanding your patients’ lifestyles as well as details about how they manage stressors, such as career, home, family or personal set-backs, is customary during an annual health check-up. But are you adequately addressing the elephant in the exam room?

“Let’s face it talking to patients about substance abuse can be tricky. Whether real or perceived, there are disincentives for doctors to talk with their patients about substance abuse, including time constraints and our society’s aversion to awkward encounters,” says Dr. John Larson, Corporate Medical Director, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment. “Yet, skipping the topic entirely is a huge disservice to your patients who depend on you to help keep them healthy.”

Bear in mind, there are plenty of myths about substance abuse and drug rehab that actually perpetuate avoidant behavior from patients who need help remaining sober, including:

  • A person can’t be forced into treatment, and has to have the desire to change for treatment to be work.
  • Addiction treatment didn’t work in the past, so there’s no point in trying again.
  • Overcoming addiction is merely a matter of willpower. People can choose to stop using drugs if they really want to change their lives for the better.

Help Inspire Self-Directed Change in Others

To overcome misperception as well as the societal stigma of substance abuse with your patients’, it’s important to motivational interviewing, substance abuse, gateway alcohol & Drug treatment centersset a positive tone from right off the bat. Simply advising patients to change if a problem is revealed often is unrewarding and ineffective. That’s why Gateway recommends using techniques of Motivational Interviewing (MI) to promote self-directed change. In fact, a recent meta-analysis* of 72 studies found that MI outperformed traditional medical advice-giving in 80% of the studies.

To clarify, Motivational Interviewing is an open-ended, non-confrontational approach for interacting with persons who are unsure, uncommitted or ambivalent about changing. The spirit of MI, which is prioritized over technique, includes partnership, acceptance, compassion and evocation…or P.A.C.E.:

  • Partnership refers to collaborating with patients on their journey of exploration and decision-making.
  • Acceptance involves acknowledging and respecting patients’ inherent worth or ability within and as ultimate decision makers.
  • Compassion involves demonstrating commitment and behavior supportive of patients’ best interests.
  • Evocation encompasses the use of reflections, open-ended questions and non-judgmental exploration to facilitate exchanges in which patients elicit their concerns and reasons for change.

Trying to impose motivation upon patients makes it less likely they will change. Rather, it’s the role of the patient to make needed changes in MI; and your responsibility as a physician is to educate and empower your patients to make well-informed decisions that satisfy their own personal health needs.

If you know someone that could benefit from a free, confidential substance abuse consultation, encourage them to call 800-971-HOPE, or visit RecoverGateway.org.

*US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15826439

What are Designer Drugs or “Street Drugs?”

designer drugsDesigner drugs, also referred to as synthetic drugs or street drugs, are produced by altering the chemistry of existing illegal substances. Made by street chemists, designer drugs can vary greatly in terms of strength and purity. Often times, these drugs may contain agents that are highly poisonous such as liquid laundry bleach.

Because of the great variation of ingredients, the street names can vary from batch to batch. Due to unlicensed and untrained amateurs creating these drugs, they can be extremely dangerous. In many cases, these altered drugs are far more dangerous and powerful than the original illegal substance.

WHAT’S SO “DESIGNER” ABOUT THESE DRUGS?

These drugs are “designed” to sidestep laws against controlled substances. Before designer drugs came along, drug laws were specific. Drugs like Heroin, amphetamines, Valium and other drugs were put on a list in The Controlled Substances Act, created by the Federal Government. Substances on this list were explicitly banned by law.

Street chemists who originated designer drugs knew that, by switching base ingredients or otherwise tinkering with the chemical structure of drugs in the lab, they could create entirely new chemicals – or drugs, different enough from controlled substances that they wouldn’t violate the law, yet close enough to produce many of the same effects as the original drug.

Common physical symptoms among users of designer drugs include:

 – Increased heart rate  – Total paralysis
 – Clenched teeth – Chills and sweating
 – Blurred vision – Dehydration and heat exhaustion
 – Uncontrolled tremors  – Seizures
 – Anorexia  – Nausea and vomiting
 – Respiratory depression – Death
 – Permanent brain damage

To learn more about synthetic drugs, visit RecoverGateway.org/Synthetic-Drugs

If you or a loved one is struggling with designer drug use, Gateway can help. Visit RecoverGateway.org to learn more.

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