Surviving as a Recovering Addict in Boston

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Boston Addiction Aftercare Programs
October 1, 2015
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Living with substance use in Boston today

Between Boston’s rising opioid issue and its centuries-long struggles with alcoholism, you couldn’t accuse the city of having abstinence as part of its character. Whether you are in recovery from substance use disorder or simply trying to control your intake, it can be difficult in a city where one of the top hobbies is drinking at the local bar.

While not the heaviest drinking city (a dubious honor that goes to Appleton, Wisconsin), Boston is noted for having some of the highest binge drinking numbers in the country. Over 22 percent of adults in Boston reported binge drinking in the previous month compared to the national rate of 16.2 percent. The state of Massachusetts also has the highest underage drinking figures in the entire United States.

Boston’s drug problem

It’s not just alcohol that seems to flow freely in Boston either. Drug rehab centers in Boston also reported a rise in opioid and benzodiazepine misuse admissions over the past decade. Opioids have become a particularly serious problem in the Greater Boston Area, fueled by the high accessibility of powerful synthetic drugs such as fentanyl, which in turn fuels the demand for dangerous street heroin and even non-opioid drugs such as meth.

Effects of the pandemic on Boston’s substance misuse

The deterioration in mental health and average incomes throughout the United States in the wake of COVID-19 has also affected Boston profoundly. Rates of substance misuse have gone up across the board during the pandemic, with overdoses rising to unprecedented heightsNarcotics and alcohol support groups in Boston have found themselves struggling with the challenges brought about by this global event.

There is a slew of health risks associated with binge drinking and drug misuse, but they can be prevented or treated with the help of one of the qualified substance rehab centers in Boston. Call Boston Drug Treatment Centers today at (617) 517-6448 for a comprehensive list of drug and alcohol rehabs in your neighborhood.

Challenges to long-term recovery

Substance use disorder may not always be curable. However, it is almost always treatable and controllable. No matter how severe a substance use disorder is, there is always a decent chance the individual can make a recovery, provided they have access to the right combination of approaches.

The process of recovering from substance use disorders is, unfortunately, not well understood by the general public. Recovery does not usually happen after a one-time epiphany or detox session. It may not even happen after a year in a residential rehab program.

Today, it’s becoming more and more clear that a one-size-fits-all solution to substance rehab is ineffective for most individuals. Rehab is a long-term process that, in most cases, involves attempting to find a combination of approaches that will work for an individual.

Unfortunately, this can be an expensive and drawn-out process that not everyone can afford to pay for comfortably, especially if their finances have been decimated by years of substance misuse. Thankfully, the Greater Boston Area leads the country when it comes to both the selection and accessibility of substance rehab therapies. If you’re in Massachusetts, call Boston Drug Treatment Centers at (617) 517-6448 to find therapeutic intervention for substance use within your budget.

Trigger management, aftercare, and relapse prevention

Recovery does not end after detox or after a stint at a rehab center. It may take the brain years to recover to a state where it no longer craves drugs to function “normally”. In the meantime, the patient may remain vulnerable to a relapse, which can be potentially fatal if their substance tolerances have been reduced during rehab. This makes aftercare, trigger management, and relapse prevention crucial for long-term recovery.

Fortunately, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in group and individuals settings is largely accessible to most people with substance use disorders. When done consistently, this and other similar psychotherapy approaches remain the most effective and most affordable approaches to sustained long-term recovery.

Most psychotherapeutic approaches to substance use disorder, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, are aimed at helping patients do two things: manage their substance use triggers and help them devise personal strategies for coping with them.

Fortunately, trigger management now a mainstream recovery concept. Most drug rehab centers in Massachusetts will give recovering patients some kind of access to trigger management and relapse prevention techniques, as well as aftercare programs where these concepts could be further explored.

What can I do to avoid a relapse?

Avoidance can be critical in the early stages of recovery. Staying away from places where alcohol abuse and misuse are likely to occur is a big factor in long-term success.

Another strategy is to find a new focus or distraction. Signing up for activities that interest you or that you have never done before such as a book club, volunteering in a shelter, art classes, or an animal care facility can serve to keep one’s mind off using drugs again.

Lastly, joining support groups can help keep you from succumbing again to drugs and alcohol. When you encounter places or people that threaten to trigger a relapse, keep in mind you can always call your sponsor or a friend.

Survive and thrive during substance recovery

If you fear a relapse, help is only a phone call away. For more information about relapse prevention and continuing care programs in Boston, call Boston Drug Treatment Centers at (617) 517-6448 today.