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"I was born feeling empty," said actor Rob Lowe, "[With drugs] you are looking unconsciously or consciously, to fill that." According to Lowe, this is what led to his long battle with drug and alcohol addiction. After several very public sex scandals and almost losing his now wife, Sheryl Berkoff, Rob Lowe decided he needed help and checked himself into an addiction treatment program.
Now, after more than 20 years of successful sobriety, Rob Lowe expresses great gratitude for his recovery journey. "Being in recovery has given me everything of value that I have in my life... It's given me a beautiful family and an amazing career. I'm under no illusions where I would be without the... chance to recover from it."
Rob Lowe is one of many examples that, even after the worst has happened - be it humiliation, hurtful behavior, or damage to social relationships - recovery is possible, and a lifetime of joy and gratitude is waiting on the other side. If you are struggling with drug addiction, you are not alone.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), over 21.5 million people in the United States battled a substance use disorder in 2014. Of those, only 2.6 million sought treatment in a drug rehab program.
A study by Addiction Journal found that "62.4% of individuals in the helped (rehab) group were remitted, compared with only 43.4% of individuals in the no help group." This indicates a strong correlation of lasting recovery with rehabilitation therapy. In this article, we'll discuss why rehab is necessary to achieve long-term sobriety, as well as the different options of drug rehab programs available.
Drug rehabilitation is a combination of therapy, examination, counseling, and education that is intended to discover, diagnose, and treat psychological dependence to illicit substances (drugs).
There are many styles of rehabilitation programs, but in general they will include some or all of the following:
In the world of substance addiction, relapse happens. It doesn't happen to everyone, but since the average relapse rate for a user who has become sober is 40 - 60%, it's safe to say that it is a common occurrence. This phenomenon causes what is called "revolving door syndrome".
Revolving door syndrome in reference to addiction centers occurs when a patient enters treatment, begins recovery, leaves the facility, begins using again, and returns to rehab. Due to the high rate of relapse among substance abusers, some assume that rehab doesn't work.
However, relapse rates are actually higher among "self-treated" recovered addicts than among those treated at drug rehabilitation centers, according to Addiction Journal. The reason relapse rates are so high is because addiction is a chronic disease. Once sober, a drug-dependent individual is not simply "fixed". Remaining sober is a lifelong commitment for an addict, and a lapse in judgement or vigilance can easily lead to relapse, just as a diabetic who forgets to take insulin may become hypoglycemic. This disease may not ever be necessarily cured, but you can learn how to manage it with professional help.
That's where drug rehab comes in. During rehabilitation, you will learn about the causes of your own personal addiction and how to cope with the daily challenges of addiction, such as triggers and cravings. This may not be something you can learn how to do on your own.
According to a survey by the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services, the average rate of recovery after drug rehab programs is 46%. Compare that with a 17% success rate for those who only sought help to complete the detox phase, and you can see the difference that rehab makes.
There's an unspoken implication in mainstream society that drug addiction is a choice or a weakness on the part of the addict. If you have a substance use disorder, you may have felt feelings of blame and resentment from those around you, even when they are not spoken outright. This harmful point of view is simply untrue.
Both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) define drug addiction (also called substance use disorder or dependence syndrome) as a "chronic brain disease". In other words, according to some of the largest and most prestigious health organizations in the world, addiction is not your fault. That is not to say, however, that you are powerless to overcome it.
Drug abuse over a long period of time changes the natural chemistry of the brain, and once dependence has set in, it will take a lifelong commitment to recover and stay sober. In order to achieve recovery, you must first understand the nature of addiction, how it happens, how it affects your mind and body, and how it can be treated. Addiction can be treated but usually requires a great deal of dedication and willingness on your part, as well as the support of trained professionals and counselors to help you through.
This article will explain the nature of addiction and its causes, as well as the different treatment options available. For those of you who are trying to help a loved one achieve sobriety, intervention is sometimes necessary to help the substance abuser take positive action and fight the power that addiction holds over them. If you are battling drug addiction yourself, read on; it is time for you to make the decision that will change your life, and perhaps even save it.
The first step of the process will be at least a week of detox to rid your body of the dangerous physical dependence it has formed to illicit substances.
Although different drugs may behave differently in the brain, the end result is the same. The brain and body become dependent on the substance in order to continue to function normally, creating a powerful addiction. This is the effect that different drugs can have on the brain and body:
The opioid crisis that has taken hold of the United States is infamous across the world. Even international networks like the UK's BBC report on the extremity of America's addiction to heroin and prescription opioids.
In 2015, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that almost 3 million people in the United States had a substance use disorder involving opioids. This class of drugs includes heroin as well as prescription pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl, among others.
Prescription pain relievers are not considered illicit drugs until they are abused, an occurrence that can sometimes happen accidentally. Famous pop star Prince, for example, was prescribed opioids for a knee injury he sustained during a performance. He reportedly became addicted unintentionally as a result of the prescription and began buying the drugs for more than pain. He died of a fentanyl overdose in 2016.
Any opioid, be it street heroin or prescription hydrocodone, has a similar effect on the brain. Chemicals in the drugs bind to opioid receptors in the brain, stimulating the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine that triggers pleasure and feelings of euphoria. The brain and body enjoy these sensations of happiness, naturally triggering a need for more opioids to keep the good feeling going.
Stimulants are another class of drug that affect dopamine pathways in the brain, but these substances trigger the release of norepinephrine and serotonin as well, which act to stimulate and energize the nervous system. At low doses, stimulants can increase concentration and productivity, but at the levels in which they are taken to achieve euphoria, they can have a dangerous effect on the body and psyche.
Cocaine, methamphetamines, ecstasy, as well as some prescription medications like Ritalin and Adderall, are all considered stimulants. Those who take these drugs often seek more than the pleasurable release of dopamine. Some users claim that illicit stimulants help to increase sexual performance, stay awake and alert for longer periods of time, and enjoy the all-night party culture of raves and dance clubs. Prescription stimulant abuse, on the other hand, often occurs because users wish to increase concentration and alertness at work or school. No matter the reason, any of these substances can cause addiction.
Unlike other drugs, hallucinogens seem to affect the receptors of serotonin neurotransmitters more than dopamine. Hallucinogens like LCD, DMT, peyote, psilocybin, and ketamine imitate serotonin and enter serotonin receptors in the brain, changing behavior, personality, and perceptions. Research shows that hallucinogens can actually change the shape of neurons permanently, forever changing the way your brain sends and receives messages.
While some hallucinogens, such as LSD, are not considered addictive, users can become tolerant to them over time, requiring them to take more to achieve the same effect. Other hallucinogens can create dependence however, and all of them can bring about problems in the personal and professional lives of those who take them because of the drastic way they affect personality and behavior. Most hallucinogens also present a marked risk of overdose as well.
In addition to those illicit substances named above, there are more drugs that can create dangerous addictions, such as:
Most drugs are addictive because of how they affect the brain's communication system. The brain uses chemicals called neurotransmitters to communicate feelings, emotions, and everything else to the rest of your body. Drugs either stimulate the release of or imitate the actions of pleasure-creating neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, producing temporary feelings of euphoria and happiness.
The brain is wired to seek more pleasurable feelings, which would normally be caused by activities like sex or eating good food. When drugs create a rush of artificially created pleasure, the brain's natural inclination is to seek more pleasure. The user's instincts urge him or her to continue the pleasurable behavior and use more substances.
As the user continues to consume drugs, tolerance develops, requiring larger quantities of the drug at each sitting to achieve the same high. The user will continue to increase the dose they take over time, and the brain will adapt to the constant influx of neurotransmitters by slowing down its production of neurotransmitters and reducing the number of pleasure receptors. The brain will try to inhibit pleasure centers in order to balance out the effects of the drugs.
Over time, the brain becomes rewired and its communication system will be completely altered. The result is that when the user stops consuming drugs, the system that has been rewired for a steady influx of illicit substances is suddenly left without any pleasure chemicals at all. There is nothing to balance out the inhibitory mechanisms that the brain has put into place, and a range of painful and unpleasant drug withdrawal symptoms set in, like depression, insomnia, headaches, and a range of flu-like symptoms.
Because withdrawal is such a miserable experience, many users who try to quit will ultimately seek out their substance of choice again, if only to relieve the withdrawal symptoms.
Besides the sometimes permanent changes that drugs have on the brain, they also do a number on the physical health of your body in general. Even from the very first use, drugs have marked short-term effects on the body, such as:
Of course, an addiction assumes long-term use of a substance, which will have even more disastrous effects on the body, depending on the substance. Long-term use of illicit substances may result in:
According to a study by Preventative Medicine Journal, the average long-term drug addict loses 18 years or more of life due to their addiction.
If quitting were easy, there wouldn't be such a thing as substance use disorder. Our bodies, personalities, and behaviors are completely controlled by functions with the brain. When your brain is urging your body to do something, it is almost impossible not to obey. Therein lies the problem of addiction. Recovery is the process of retraining your brain over time to resist the neurological urges caused by addiction. It is an incredibly difficult, arduous, and painful process that literally takes a lifetime to achieve. But when it comes to drug addiction, your life may the only thing you have left, and it is always worth saving.
The first step of the recovery journey is detox. Often described as the most difficult stage of recovery, detox is the process of your brain and body ridding themselves of their physical dependence to illicit substances. Once you have become physically dependent on drugs, your brain and body no longer remember how to function normally without them. When you begin the detox process and abstain from using, your body will be thrown into a sudden and severe imbalance, a confused state caused by its dependence on the presence and effects of drugs. This chemical and physical imbalance creates a range of symptoms called withdrawal symptoms.
On one hand, going through drug detox is unavoidable. No matter how you choose to do so or where you are, once you quit using, your body will go through drug withdrawal. The term detox simply refers to coping with the withdrawal symptoms in a healthy way and allowing the withdrawal process to run its course.
Because of the pain and distress of withdrawal, many drug treatment and therapy measures cannot be addressed during this phase. It is a matter of managing the withdrawal symptoms and staying sober long enough for the body to shed its physical dependence on drugs and regain a normal, healthy balance. Once this process is complete, you will be ready for a more rigorous drug treatment program.
Many users assume that since the obvious effects of drugs fade away quickly, the chemicals leave the bloodstream just as quickly. This line of thinking is extremely dangerous since substances remain in the bloodstream for hours after their euphoric effects have worn off. Many overdoses are accidental and occur because users assume that their last dose has already left the bloodstream. Here is a list of common substances and their duration within the human body:
Although it can vary according to which substance you are addicted to, drug detox generally lasts one week, although the cravings and psychological effects will last much longer. Every drug has its own withdrawal timeline and we can't post each one here, but this is a description of the withdrawal timelines for several major drug categories. The times below are calculated as the amount of time that has passed since the last dose or "fix".
Stage One: 12 Hours - 2 Days
Stage Two: 2 Days - 7 Days
Stage One: 4 Hours - 3 Days
Stage Two: 4 Days - 7 Days
Stage Three: 2 Weeks - 4 Weeks
Although the main withdrawal symptoms will last one week, cocaine withdrawal is marked by more noticeable mood swings, anger, depression, and insomnia for several weeks after stage two.
Although meth is considered a stimulant like cocaine, its highly toxic chemical composition makes the withdrawal process a little different.
Stage One: 1 Day - 3 Days
Stage Two: 4 Days - 7 Days
Although hallucinogen dependence is more rare, users can become addicted to drugs like PCP and ketamine.
Stage One: 1 Day - 3 Days
Stage Two: 4 Days - 14 Days
The symptoms will remain the same but will slowly lessen until they cease after 10 - 14 days.
While the detox stage usually lasts a week or so, it will only address physical addiction, not psychological addiction. Psychological addiction occurs when drugs fulfill more than a need for physical pleasure. For example, some people consume illicit substances because they feel depressed or anxious when sober. Others may feel uncomfortable around people or suffer from mood disorders, seeking to make themselves more sociable and amenable through the use of drugs. These are psychological factors that lead to addiction and will take much longer to treat than the physical symptoms of addiction.
Many individuals like the idea of undergoing the detox phase at home to avoid expensive inpatient stays at addiction centers. While it is possible to detox at home, it is not recommended for several reasons:
The most common cause of relapse is the great discomfort and difficulty of substance use withdrawal. Living in your own home has not prevented you from using thus far, so why would it prevent you from using when you're in the dire straits of withdrawal?
The problem is that the painful drug withdrawal symptoms can be eased very easily - with another dose of drugs. Even those with the greatest determination at the outset may not be able to finish the detox process if drugs are easily obtainable. Taking yourself out of the home environment and into a protected, drug-free setting could make the difference between success and failure.
Even if you do decide to detox at home, see a doctor beforehand for a full examination of your physical and mental health. For long-term or heavy users, the drug withdrawal process is not only painful, it can be dangerous or even fatal. For example, the severe vomiting and diarrhea that takes place during opioid withdrawal could lead to severe dehydration, hospitalization, or death.
Cocaine and methamphetamine withdrawal are sometimes associated with extreme suicidal thoughts that were not previously present. Without the constant supervision and relative safety of a treatment facility, even someone who was previously stable could succumb to temporary psychosis and do themselves harm.
Besides round-the-clock supervision, drug treatment centers also provide various types of therapeutic and medical intervention to soothe drug withdrawal symptoms. Medical personnel can prescribe and monitor prescriptions that help with symptoms, and counselors can help motivate you to engage in therapeutic activities that you would not otherwise be willing to do.
In the event that you do decide to try drug detox at home, make sure to obtain a doctor's assurance that your physical and mental health will be able to withstand the experience. Also seek out the support of trustworthy (and sober) friends and family to help you through the process, reminding you to eat whenever possible, stay hydrated, and exercise as much as you are able. A support system should also be in place to call an ambulance in case of any medical emergency. Lastly, and most obviously, remove and dispose of all illicit substances and paraphernalia in the house before you begin.
Drugstores sell a variety of so-called detox kits that are purported to rid the body of toxic substances. Some of them may even claim to help with withdrawal symptoms. The reliability and safety of these kits is dubious, to say the least.
For one thing, detox kits are not certified or regulated by any official agency or standard, so there is no accounting for the safety and quality of their ingredients. Many of those ingredients are chemicals intended to mask the presence of drugs in urine tests.
Another problem is the deceiving nature of these kits. They are really intended for one purpose - to help users obtain false negatives on mandatory drug tests. Detox kits do nothing to ease or soothe the withdrawal process, and in some cases, they may even make drug withdrawal symptoms worse. In short, don't waste your time or money on detox kits; they will not help you in the recovery process and may even hinder the process if you use them to cheat drug tests.
Most drug rehab programs offer professionally supervised detox treatment. Undergoing detox in a residential care facility leads to a much higher completion rate, since it is a protected environment with no access to illicit substances. Counseling, therapy, encouragement, and medical intervention can also be an enormous help in soothing and overcoming drug withdrawal symptoms. Here are some of the ways Northpoint Recovery assists patients through the detox phase:
Although prescription medicinal treatment is not available for every kind of drug addiction, there are many options available to help ease withdrawal symptoms and emotional instability during detox.
Opioid detox medications are usually milder forms of the drugs themselves, serving as mild substitute opioids that can help the body wean itself off of the addiction while toning down the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Some of these include:
Stimulant detox may require a combination of very mild stimulant medications to help the patient keep from "crashing", as well some antidepressants or antipsychotics if the patient is experiencing extreme depression or suicidal thoughts. Finally, in some cases muscle relaxers or sedatives may be used to reduce anxiety and agitation. Examples of some of these include:
Medical intervention therapy requires supervision by a doctor and trained medical staff to monitor and adjust dosages throughout the detox process. Which medications you need and the dosages will depend on the severity of your drug withdrawal symptoms.
While counseling-based therapy will certainly be helpful during detox, Northpoint also offers a range of activity-based practices in this phase, such as:
Drug rehabilitation is more than a temporary solution to help you achieve sobriety. A good professional drug treatment program will help you to analyze the causes of your addiction, diagnose underlying conditions that may attribute to it, and teach you how to cope with the daily challenges of addiction in order to prepare for a lifetime of successful recovery. Without the assistance of medical doctors, psychiatrists, and trained professionals, it is very unlikely that the average person with a substance use disorder could achieve the same level of success. Below are a few reasons why.
Once the human brain has become dependent on a foreign substance for any amount of time, its communication network and neural pathways will begin to change. There is a physical, permanent change that takes place within the drug-addicted brain that can never be completely reversed. Addiction can be overcome, of course, but once the brain has been rewired, it may require a lifetime of commitment and self-discipline to maintain sobriety.
Drug addiction centers can help you to understand the changes that have taken place in your brain and body, why addiction happens, and how to confront the new challenges that lay in store.
Whether or not you have a strong support system of family and friends, thus far your home environment has not lent itself to a sober lifestyle. If you are currently suffering from a drug addiction, then your current living situation may not be beneficial to recovery.
Relapse is incredibly common during detox and early recovery. The process itself is grueling and painful, and if illicit substances are readily available or a phone call away, the temptation of using "just one time" may be too strong to resist. While this may not sound very perilous, this temptation can actually be fatal.
Even after a few days of detox, your tolerance levels will already begin to drop. If you do give in to the temptation for "just one more fix" to get you through the harrowing process of detox, you are likely to take the same dose you were taking before. Since your previous tolerance levels were so high, your nervous system may not be able to handle the same quantity as before and an overdose is much more likely. For opioid users especially, relapse can be deadly.
By completing detox safely in a drug rehabilitation center, you can ensure that you won't give in to temptation during the worst cravings of the detox stage, since there will be no way for you to obtain your substance of choice. What's more, medical intervention, monitoring, counseling, and therapy practices that are available in drug rehab can also greatly reduce withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and relapse.
Many studies have been performed to measure success rates for drug treatment centers. Although the studies have varying reliability and results, all of them find that drug rehabilitation helps users to obtain longer lasting sobriety. Here is a summary of a few findings about rehab programs and success rates:
You'll notice you don't see long-term recovery rates of 89% or 99% on this list. That's because drug addiction recovery is a lifelong process and relapse is a common factor. Having a short relapse is common during recovery - common enough that studies such as those above would consider relapse a "failure" for the purposes of the study. This is what brings those success rates down considerably. However, one relapse does not mean you have failed at recovery. If you can overcome a relapse and continue with sobriety, then it should be considered a great success, not a failure. Once relapse has occurred several times however, it may be time to seek more help.
Is there a cure for drug addiction? No, substance use disorder is considered a chronic disease for which there is no definite cure. However, drug addiction can be treated and drug rehab has helped millions of individuals to achieve long-lasting recovery. In fact, here are a few well-known individuals who are in long-term recovery:
These are just a few names out of thousands of celebrities, actors, singers, and others in the entertainment industry who struggle with the stereotypical "Hollywood lifestyle". However, if you visit your local chapter of Narcotics Anonymous, you will find plenty of similar success stories from normal, everyday people who found their way to recovery. Most of them will tell you that addiction can be treated, and methods of treatment are evolving and improving all the time.
Below we've described some of the most effective methods for treating drug addiction.
These are some of the latest innovations in advanced substance abuse treatment. Although not all rehab centers offer them, methods such as these may be key to long-term recovery.
Dual diagnosis refers to the analysis and diagnosis of the underlying psychological factors involved with addiction. Although not everyone with a substance use disorder will also be diagnosed with a mental or emotional condition, it often happens that the two conditions coincide.
For example, almost half of all people who abuse opioids have some form of depression. If drug treatment programs only treat the addiction, but not the depression, the user is much more likely to relapse.
At Northpoint, we provide full psychiatric and biosocial examinations for all incoming patients in order to determine if they show signs of co-occurring mental conditions or social disorders. If a dual diagnosis is made, our medical staff can choose the appropriate treatment plan and medications to address both the addiction and its underlying psychological causes.
In this way, each patient is much more likely to discover and confront their individual issues and prepare for a more stable future with a healthier mentality.
One of the most advanced addiction treatments available today is neurofeedback therapy. Although few drug rehab facilities offer the program, it can have dramatic effects in maintaining long-term sobriety. This is what it's like:
You sit in front of a computer screen and small electrodes (painless, uninvasive activity detectors) are attached to your head as a series of images and sounds are played on the screen. Throughout the session, the electrodes monitor your brain activity and the computer makes an analysis of the state that your brain is in as well as your emotional condition.
Over a series of sessions, the electrodes will continue to monitor your brain, rewarding calm, rational, and logical thinking patterns. With time, the system helps you to retrain your brain and its responses to reduce irrational, impulsive feelings and replace them with more composed, logical processing. This process can help to rewire your brain away from addictive behaviors and prepare you for maintaining long-lasting sobriety.
One of the more controversial forms of substance abuse treatment is medical intervention. Earlier we discussed how this treatment plan helps patients to overcome detox, but it is also part of the drug rehabilitation process. Medication protocols like opioid replacement therapy (ORT) are used throughout rehab as patients are weaned off of opioids to reduce the intensity of cravings.
This use of medical intervention has been criticized because of the fact that the prescriptions could also be habit-forming. The key is to integrate medical intervention into a well-rounded holistic process that includes counseling, exercise, and diet, among other activities, to reduce the body's need for the medications. Each patient is slowly weaned off of the prescription medications by the time the program is complete.
Healing the mind and body from the ravages of addiction is an important component of recovery. Holistic treatment methods focus on whole-body wellness on both a physical and mental level. Here are some of the holistic drug treatment programs offered at Northpoint:
Modern advancements and whole-body wellness are important, but some of the more traditional methods in addiction therapy cannot be dismissed. Simple one-on-one counseling and group therapy have been proven time and time again as effective ways to improve emotional stability as well as future efforts towards sobriety. These are some of the traditional rehab techniques you'll find at Northpoint:
The standard drug rehab program at Northpoint Recovery is 28 days, but treatment programs and time frames may vary according to the needs of the patient. Our drug rehabilitation treatment plans are individualized for each patient specific to the nature of their addiction, diagnosis, and needs, so each person's schedule will differ during the program.
However, this is how your standard day in the rehab center might go:
Since our programs are entirely individualized, it is impossible to predict the exact cost of your rehabilitation process before you come in for an initial assessment. Different factors such as medical needs, length of program, and aftercare can affect the cost of treatment.
Many insurance carriers cover part of the cost of drug rehab, so this will also affect your final out-of-pocket fee. If you do not have insurance, cash payments and payment plans can also be discussed.
People with substance use disorder find a lot of reasons not to enter into drug treatment. In fact, it is calculated that only 12% of all drug addicts ever seek treatment at all. Below find a few of the most common obstacles to entering drug treatment, as well as a few possible solutions:
This is a common complaint. However, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation can take you very far, fairly quickly. If you can find transportation to an inpatient facility, most addiction centers will help you to find local support groups to attend when you return home.
One thing that's more expensive than rehab is drugs. Anyone with a substance abuse problem knows the terribly high cost of the substances themselves. If you can transfer the funds that you spend on your habit to addiction treatment, it would go a long way to pay for rehab. In the end, you'll ultimately save money by achieving sobriety.
Many health insurance policies also pay for a portion of drug rehabilitation fees. Be sure to check with your provider.
Many see drug rehab as a social stigma. Perhaps it's your running buddies that make rehab sound like a joke, or you could be afraid of what your coworkers will think.
However, there are few social stigmas that are worse than drug addiction when it reaches a level of true severity. Drug addiction will eventually ruin your social and family relationships, affect your performance at work, and could easily take your life. Drug rehab may be the very thing that heals your relationships and puts your life back on track. Take pride in your recovery.
At Northpoint, your aftercare program will be in development from the day you arrive at the facility. This stage is key to integrating back into a normal lifestyle and establishing a plan for long-term recovery. Here are some of the aftercare options we offer:
Even after drug rehabilitation is over, you will not be left without the tools you need to continue with recovery. By this point, you will have learned to recognize your own triggers and how to cope with cravings. You will have the knowledge and guidance to recognize the unhealthy habits and activities that may have attributed to your addiction before, and will be more prepared to eradicate those things from your life. Finally, recovery support groups can be found almost anywhere.
There are millions of recovering addicts across the United States and many of them attend regular support groups and therapy sessions to help maintain sobriety. These groups are numerous and, for the most part, free of charge. A few of the organizations you can look to after drug rehab include:
When you are preparing for drug rehab completion, ask your drug treatment center to provide you with a list of support groups and addiction therapy providers in your local community. Staying in touch with the recovery community and attending meetings can be the foundation that makes your recovery journey a lifelong success.
Drug addiction can rob you of every positive part of your life, and if you've been battling with substance abuse for long, you already know how quickly the damage can add up. Perhaps you are a family member or close loved one of a drug addict, in which case you may have an even deeper understanding of the way that substance abuse can affect every aspect of the person it controls.
Don't let the looming abyss of despair consume you. There is hope. The disease of addiction can be treated. Rob Lowe once said, "Sobriety was the greatest gift I ever gave myself." If ever there were a day to give the gift of sobriety - of life itself - to yourself or someone you know, today is that day.
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