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4 Steps To Overcoming Addiction

4 Steps To Overcoming Addiction

For many people working toward overcoming drug addiction, achieving long term, or even temporary success seems impossible. Maybe you’ve been told it just takes willpower and a lot of discipline to overcome addiction. But we know this simply isn’t true.

Addiction affects the brain in a variety of ways, including a compulsion to consume a drug or alcohol that is seemingly impossible to resist. But there is hope. With the right treatment and support in place, overcoming drug addiction is a possibility.

We often meet with patients who say the biggest roadblock in dealing with their addiction is either a willingness to seek treatment, a denial of their addiction, or both.

At Addiction Alternatives, we utilize alternative routes to sobriety, including outpatient programs, one-on-one counseling, rehab, and family sessions. Our goal is to offer every patient who comes our way a compassionate and supportive approach to overcoming drug addiction.

Whether you’re seeking treatment for benzo, morphine, opiates, oxycodone, or suboxone addiction, we tailor a program to you to increase your odds of long term success.

While the details and methods we use for your treatment program may vary, they generally entail following certain steps we’re going to share with you today.

4 Steps to Overcoming Drug Addiction

  1. Committing to making a change
  2. Getting the right help
  3. Finding a support group
  4. Maintaining a positive and realistic attitude


Part of committing to making a change involves the realization that you need help in the first place. For many people with substance abuse disorders, this is one of the hardest – yet most impactful – steps you’ll take in the recovery process.

Why IS it so hard to seek addiction treatment? We discuss this topic in depth in this blog post.

In addition to admitting and accepting that you need help, this also entails the realization that many things about your life need to change. This could include how you handle stress, who you spend your time with, and where you spend your time.

Once you’ve reached this point and you’re ready for the next critical step, you’re on your way to regaining control of your life.

Finding help

Medical supervision during substance abuse treatment can help ensure not only the efficacy of your detox and recovery, but your safety during the process as well. Medically supervised detox can help make sure you’re as comfortable as possible during the withdrawal process, in addition to it being done safely so you do not cause further damage to your health.

One of the advantages of getting professional help with overcoming drug addiction is the potential opportunity to utilize medication-assisted treatment (MAT) if necessary. This involves the use of medications (as well as counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy) as an effective treatment of opioid use disorders (OUD). In many cases, this “whole-patient” approach results in more successful treatment of substance abuse disorders, as well as a more positive long-term outcome.

To learn more about medication and counseling treatment, please visit this post for more information.

The right type of therapy and addiction recovery services and help isn’t the same for every patient. But when you choose to go through this process with a physician and their staff, you’ll have the benefit of their years of experience and knowledge in the most effective treatment options.


There is plenty of strong evidence to suggest that group therapies and peer support during addiction recovery can contribute to success. While speaking with your friends and family about what you’re experiencing can also be a useful tool, finding a specific support group for your needs is an important part of recovery.

If you are helping a loved one through treatment and withdrawal, we’ve covered six ways to offer your support here. Finding the right support group might take a few tries. If you’re in residential treatment, group therapies are almost always part of the programs so this could be your first experience with group work. In many treatment programs, family therapy is used as well. Before you leave residential treatment, you should discuss how and where you can find support outside of the treatment program.

If you’re completing outpatient treatment, support is still a critical component of the process. To find support, search for groups near you. For example, a quick search for “drug addiction support groups in Florida” will bring up plenty of results.

Finding the right support group

We mentioned that finding the right support group for drug or alcohol addiction might take a few tries.

However, there are certain things to look for in a support group before joining that can help you ensure it’s a good fit.

  • Are they open to new members?
  • When and where does the group meet?
  • What is the criteria to join?
  • How often do they meet?
  • How many people attend the support group?
  • Is anything done to protect the confidential information group members share?
  • Is the program faith-based or secular?
  • What topics are covered?

After the meeting, there are more questions to ask yourself to decide if it’s the right group for you to return to:

  • Did I feel supported and welcomed to the group?
  • Was I/my privacy respected during the meeting?
  • Did I find the group beneficial and leave feeling better than I came?
  • Did I get useful and helpful information?
  • Could I relate to fellow group members in some ways?

Addiction Treatment in Florida

If you’re seeking addiction treatment in Florida, we encourage you to explore the services we offer here at Addiction Alternatives. Our professional medical personnel with particular experience in addiction issues including Dr. Charles Buscema is committed to giving every patient the tools they need to commit to a long-term recovery — including each of the steps we’ve just listed.

We offer specific services depending on the substance you’re overcoming an addiction to.

Our morphine treatment programs, like our other services, are built to work around your lifestyle, as we understand not everyone can commit to residential treatment. We offer Florida morphine withdrawal, and to keep our services as cost-effective as possible, we operate on an outpatient basis. Our team will provide patients with a full detox service for as long as required and we ensure patients are regularly monitored and offered additional support if required.

Similarly, for patients seeking suboxone addiction treatment in Florida, we help keep costs down by offering effective outpatient services focused on both the mental and physical aspects of addiction. Our suboxone addiction treatment is also focused on ensuring that patients receive the counseling and behavioral support they need to achieve lasting change.

No matter what kind of service you seek with Addiction Alternatives, we care about our patients and do our best to give them a treatment regimen that makes a long term positive impact. Although we’re more cost-effective than residential treatment programs, we pride ourselves on offering the same high standard of care and attention you require for success.

If you, or someone you care about, are suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, we’re here for you all the way. Call us at (772) 618-0505 to find out more or book an appointment.


Medication and Counseling Treatment

Medication and Counseling Treatment

When struggling with addiction finding a path to recovery can be hard. There are several different treatment options that can be taken, and working with a professional can help guide you to the best treatment plan. Dr. Charles Buscema and Addiction Alternatives is a team of professionals that can walk you through your recovery treatment.

One option that is proving to be successful at treating not just the disease but the person is medication-assisted-treatment or MAT.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, which is effective in the treatment of opioid use disorders (OUD). MAT should be used in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies. Providing both will be a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Research shows that a combination of medication and therapy can be a successful treatment of these disorders, and for some people struggling with addiction, MAT can also help sustain recovery.

MAT is primarily used for the treatment of addiction to opioids such as heroin and prescription pain relievers that contain opiates. The prescribed medication operates to normalize brain chemistry. The medication blocks the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative effects of the abused drug. Medications used in MAT are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). MAT programs are clinically driven and tailored to meet each patient’s needs. There is a risk involved with MAT medications and patients that suffer from depression and anxiety and are worked with closely with their Doctor.

Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs)

Opioid treatment programs (OTPs) provide MAT for individuals diagnosed with opioid use disorder. OTPs also provide a range of services to reduce, eliminate, or prevent the use of illicit drugs and eventually improve the quality of life of those receiving treatment.

OTPs must be accredited by a SAMHSA-approved accrediting body and certified by SAMHSA. Learn more about the certification of OTPs and SAMHSA’s oversight of OTP Accreditation Bodies. Medications used in MAT for opioid treatment can only be dispensed through a SAMHSA-certified OTP.

Counseling and Behavioral Therapies

MAT patients must receive counseling, which could include different forms of behavioral therapy. These services combined with medical, vocational, educational, and other assessments and treatment services with help with the overall patient health.

MAT Effectiveness

In 2018, an estimated 2.0 million people had an opioid use disorder related to prescription pain relievers, and about 808,000 had an opioid use disorder related to heroin use. MAT provides a more comprehensive and individually tailored program of medication and behavioral therapy to patients with  a goal of full recovery. MAT also includes support services that address the needs of most patients.

The ultimate goal of MAT is full recovery. Throughout this treatment approach it has been shown to:

  • Improve patient survival
  • Increase retention in treatment
  • Decrease illicit opiate use and other criminal activity among people with substance use disorders
  • Increase patients’ ability to gain and maintain employment
  • Improve birth rates among women who have substance use disorders and are pregnant

Medications Used in MAT

FDA has approved several different medications to treat opioid addiction and alcohol dependence. These medications relieve withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings that cause chemical imbalances in the body.

There are three drugs approved by the FDA for the treatment of opioid dependence: buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. All three of these treatments have been demonstrated to be safe and effective in combination with counseling and psychosocial support.

Opioid Dependency Medications

Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are used to treat opioid dependence and addiction to short-acting opioids such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. People may safely take medications used in MAT for months, years, several years, or even a lifetime. If you are planning to stop taking medications when going through MAT,you should consult with your doctor prior to going off the medications.


Methadone prevents the person from getting high by tricking the brain into thinking it’s still getting the abused drug.The person actually will feel normal, so withdrawal doesn’t occur. Learn more about methadone.

Methadone is the only drug used in MAT for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Women must inform their treatment provider before taking methadone.


Buprenorphine suppresses and reduces cravings for the abused drug. It can come in a pill form or sublingual tablet that is placed under the tongue. Buprenorphine is very much like methadone, it helps with dependence and addiction.


Naltrexone works differently than methadone and buprenorphine in the treatment of opioid dependency. If a person using naltrexone relapses, using the abused drug, naltrexone will block the euphoric and sedative effects of the abused drug.

Naltrexone is also used to treat alcoholism by reducing your urge to drink alcohol. This may help you drink less or stop drinking completely. Naltrexone will not cause you to “sober up” and will not decrease the effects of alcohol you recently consumed.

Opioid Overdose Prevention Medication

FDA has approved naloxone, has an injectable drug used to prevent an opioid overdose. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), naloxone is one of a number of medications considered essential to a functioning health care system. Naloxone has been used in the form of Narcan, which is used by healthcare professionals and first responders have a life-saving method.

Alcohol Use Disorder Medications

Disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone are the most common drugs used to treat alcohol use disorder. None of these drugs provide a cure for the disorder, but they are most effective in people who participate in a MAT program. Learn more about the impact of alcohol misuse.


Disulfiram is a medication that treats chronic alcoholism. It is most effective in users who have already gone through detoxification or are in the initial stage of abstinence. This drug is offered in a tablet form and is taken once a day. Disulfiram should never be taken while intoxicated and it should not be taken for at least 12 hours after drinking alcohol. Unpleasant side effects such as nausea, headache, vomiting, chest pains, and difficulty breathing, can occur. Side effects can occur quickly, in as little as ten minutes after drinking even a small amount of alcohol and can last for an hour or more.


Acamprosate is a medication for people in recovery who have already stopped drinking alcohol and want to avoid drinking. While it works to prevent people from drinking alcohol, it does not prevent withdrawal symptoms. It has not been shown to work in people who continue drinking alcohol, consume illicit drugs, and/or engage in prescription drug misuse and abuse. Acamprosate will reach is max potential at 5-8 days of consecutive use. It is offered in tablet form and taken three times a day, working best when taken at the same time every day. The medication’s side effects may include diarrhea, upset stomach, appetite loss, anxiety, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping.


Unlike the other medications, naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects and feelings of intoxication, when used as a treatment for alcohol dependency. This allows people with alcohol addiction to reduce their drinking behaviors enough to remain motivated to stay in treatment, avoid relapses, and take medications.


When wanting to no longer be controlled by your addictions you should seek treatment from a professional.   Dr. Charles Buscema and Addiction Alternatives is about treating the person, not the addiction. They are a subscriber to MAT, and treating the person as a whole. Contact Dr Buscema today to get the help you deserve. They are here to answer questions and get you on the road to recovery today.



International Overdose Awareness

International Overdose Awareness

Addiction Alternatives wanted to take an opportunity to remind everyone that August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. This day is internationally recognized as an international opportunity to stand together for those that we have lost, family members as well as their loved ones to remind them that they are not alone and to honor them.

International Overdose Awareness was originally established in Melbourne, Australia in 2001. This global event gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of overdose-related deaths as well as an opportunity to spread the message of addiction as a disease.

On August 31st, we will all stand together to take a moment to honor and remember those we have lost while also reaching out our hands to help prevent more loss in the future of loved ones and their families.

The Goals of International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose awareness day is an opportunity for loved ones, families, friends and the community to publicly mourn the loss of addicts in a safe as well as accepting environment. Last year, more than 500 events spanned across the globe bringing awareness to overdose-related deaths and the disease of addiction. August 31st marks the day to educate the community on the Treasure Coast of the risks of fatal and non-fatal overdoses. The establishment of this day helps to promote a strong message against the stigma with addiction and overdoses.

International Overdose Awareness Day is the communities opportunity to partake in genuine conversation regarding drug use and overdose without the fear of judgment in a safe environment. At each of these events on the Treasure Coast and nationwide, resources and support services will be available for individuals and their families struggling with substance abuse. These resources and services will also be available to provide information to friends and family members of addicts.

August 31st, every year is our opportunity to bring more awareness to the disease of addiction and overdose awareness in order to prevent and decrease the number of drug-related deaths in the future.

How To Show Support on International Overdose Awareness Day

Wearing Purple

If you would like to show support on International Overdose Awareness Day, wearing a purple wristband, lanyard or badges are one way to signify the support of overdose awareness as well as signifying the loss of a loved one. Wearing purple wrist bands, lanyards or badges on August 31st is one of many ways to help reduce the stigma behind drug addiction and overdoses. At Addiction Alternatives we believe that every person deserves a chance to recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. The stigma behind drug abuse often makes recovery difficult and makes the conversation of overdose complicated and confusing for many individuals.

Learn More about Overdose

As the abuse of addictive substances continues to rise, we see now more than ever the widespread fatality from overdose-related deaths. It is important as ever that friends, family members, and each community is aware of the risks associated with drug use, how to get help as well as what to do in the case of an overdose. International Overdose Awareness Day is an opportunity to reduce the stigma of drug use by learning about overdose and drug abuse in order to help addicts find the help they need. Family and friends play a vital role in making resources available to those who are searching for a way out of their drug addiction.

Important Things To Consider For Overdoses

  • A drug overdose is clinically defined as when your body can no longer cope with the amount of drugs in your system.
  • Overdoses are not limited to the specific classification of drugs. Nearly all drugs including alcohol can result in an overdose. However, depending on the drug symptoms may vary.
  • Depressants (including alcohol) and opioids slow down the vital activities in the body including breathing and heart rate—putting users at greater risk for overdose.
  • Stimulants increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, seizure or drug-induced psychotic episodes—potentially resulting in overdose and death.
  • Medications should be locked up and kept out of reach of children. Even if the bottle says it is childproof, children can be clever and often more capable than we think.
  • Call an ambulance if you think someone is at risk for overdose. Many states including Florida have implemented Good Samaritan laws that protect those who call the authorities to help in an overdose situation (even if the person calling has been using as well).
  • Signs include, but are not limited to:
  • Seizures
  • Severe headache
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties (snoring, gurgling)
  • Paranoid, agitated or confused
  • Non-responsiveness, especially to stimulation such as shaking, shouting, or a rub to the sternum with the knuckles
  • In many cases, an opioid overdose may be reversed

Educate Yourself on Naloxone

“According to the CDC there were 63,632 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2016, 42,249 of these deaths (66%) involved some type of opioid, including heroin.” – Center for Disease Control.

Naloxone or better known as Narcan continues to grow as a proactive method for reversing the effects of overdoses. Narcan continues to reduce the number of drug-related deaths each year.

Narcan is a medication that can be given as an injection as well as a nasal spray that serves an antidote to opioid overdoses. Narcan works by reversing the effects of respiratory depression which is the leading cause of opioid-related deaths.

From 1996 through June 2014, surveyed organizations provided naloxone kits to 152,283 laypersons and received reports of 26,463 overdose reversals. Providing opioid overdose training and naloxone kits to laypersons who might witness an opioid overdose can help reduce opioid overdose mortality.” – Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Attend an Activity

There are many different activities available on International Overdose Awareness Day. Addiction Alternatives suggests attending an event near you on the Treasure Coast. Events range from Black Balloon release ceremonies to presentations from doctors in order to help provide the communities with more ways to learn about overdose-related deaths.

If you, or someone you know if struggling with drug or alcohol abuse and are not currently interested in attending a 12-step program or unable to attend a residential inpatient program, Addiction Alternatives offers outpatient programs to help ensure all addicts have an opportunity to recover. Our IOP program offers the same services as inpatient programs except our clients can continue on with their daily lives in an outpatient setting. This will allow those in need of flexibility an opportunity to recover.


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