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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.


Tips For Staying Sober During The Holidays

Tips For Staying Sober During The Holidays

The holidays can be an especially difficult time of the year for addicts and alcoholics. While non-addicts and alcoholics are solely thinkings about the good food, good company and good times, the added stresses and challenges addicts face at this time are great.

Most people will agree that alcohol has a tendency to make each event feel like a celebration, so it is common to have an abundance around during the holidays. But for addicts who are new to recovery, it can be their first experience with joining in on the celebration without understanding how to partake without a drink.

The holiday season tends to be bittersweet as everyone tends to experience at least some sort of disappointment. For addicts, this disappointment tends to come in the form of expectations of how the addict should be perceived. This can come in the form of endless questions about graduation, job satisfaction, kids and relationships. It is easy to get lost in the comparison role during the holidays.

Holiday Blues

Perhaps your family has kept your disease of addiction from the extended family, therefore when you reject a drink by a family member, how do you keep the conversation away from your recovery?

On the other hand, if your addiction hasn’t taken the form of a secret, how do you maintain normalcy during holiday get togethers without being uncomfortable in your own skin?

Due to the difficulty at this time of year, Addiction Alternatives wanted to provide you with a few tips for the holidays to stay sober and comfortable!

Tips for the Holiday Season

In addition to family holiday events, work and social holiday parties are a constant reminder to the sober alcoholic that they must live and socialize in a different manner than those who can drink in safety. There are holiday functions that require an appearance and it is important to have tactics in place that can help to prevent relapse and to minimize triggers. Here is a holiday “survival guide” for the sober alcoholic:

  • Have an escape plan

An escape plan may include ensuring that you have your own form of transportation or that you have arranged for transportation if you feel you need to leave. Letting your family or the host know before you arrive or when you arrive that you may need to leave early removes the uncomfortability associated with early unexpected departures. Making a backup plan and letting the host know ahead of time is essentially protecting you and your family from a potential relapse or outburst.

  • Dealing With Problem Drinkers

Dealing with family members that could perhaps belong in the rooms of AA or NA during the holidays when you are sober can feel like an oxymoron. It is your responsibility as the one in recovery to maintain a certain type of composure and relaxation for the other family members. It may help to have another sober friend on call to talk to during the event when you need the added support.

  • Non-Alcoholic Drink

If you are concerned with what you will be able to drink at a party, it may be smart to bring a special non-alcoholic drink that anyone would love. This may even encourage the typical drinkers to limit their intake. Plus when you already have a drink in your hand, you don’t need to worry as much about being offered an alcoholic drink.

  • Go To Response

When it comes to explaining why you don’t drink around family or even co-workers, it can be an awkward encounter. However, if your go to response is along the lines of one of the following you are less likely to receive a counter response.

  1. “I don’t drink anymore”,
  2. “I am not drinking tonight”
  3. “I am on medication and cannot have alcohol”
  4. “I am the designated driver tonight,” etc.
  • Be Choosy

You do not have to feel pressured into going to every party you are invited to. If you think you would be better off not attending, simply let the host know that you have other plans during that time.

  • Take Care of Yourself

You need to keep in mind that it is still just as important during the holidays than any other day to take care of yourself. This includes getting enough sleep, eating regularly and getting some exercise. You will be amazed at the difference.

  • Make New Holiday Traditions

Don’t be afraid to try something new. During the holidays, many people get lost in the typical traditions, but finding new traditions is good too. This could be anything from volunteering at a soup kitchen, having sober parties and gift exchanges and more.

  • Put Your Sobriety First

It is okay to put you and your sobriety first, always. If you feel something may threaten your sobriety it is okay to make new plans.

  • Be Honest

Some family members may see your lack of drinking as a shot to their behaviors. Do not let their opinions affect your sobriety. No everyone will understand why you can’t drink. So be honest about where you are at and ask for support when you need it.

Why Is It So Hard To Seek Addiction Treatment?

Why Is It So Hard To Seek Addiction Treatment?

When it comes to the treatment of people with addiction there is a huge discrepancy between those with it and those that actually receive treatment.

In 2016 there were approximately 21 million people 12 years old and older who needed substance abuse treatment. That is about 1 in 13 people in this age group! However, only 3.8 million people actually received treatment who were 12 and older.

There are several reasons that someone might not receive treatment. Sometimes, they are reluctant to seek treatment because there are certain stigmas about it, or it could be a financial reason. A huge problem with seeking treatment is the availability of it.

Even though there are many barriers remaining, some hopeful signs point to treatment becoming more within reach for populations who have previously struggled to find recovery help.

Number of Programs Available

One of the prevalent problems plaguing searchers of treatment is the lack of programs available. Each year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) surveys treatment centers across the country. In 2016, SAMHSA reported the following numbers on types of treatment centers available in the United States:

● Residential programs: 3,469 (1,816 short-term, less than 30 days; 2,814 long-term, more than 30 days; 954 detoxification programs)
● Hospital inpatient: 751 (550 treatment, 661 detoxification/withdrawal symptoms)
● Outpatient: 11,836 (11,036 regular outpatient, 6,553 intensive outpatient, 1,890 day treatment/partial hospitalization, 1,361 detoxification programs, 3,079 methadone maintenance)
● Dual diagnosis (treatment of both addiction and mental health disorders): 6,749
Counselors: 12,560 providing substance abuse and behavior disorder treatment

Twelve-step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) periodically survey their members. As of January 1, 2018, AA for alcoholism treatment had 61,904 groups and nearly 1.3 million members in the United States. And as of April 2016, Narcotics Anonymous held 67,000 meetings in 139 countries.

Although there are a wide variety of addiction treatment programs and centers available in the US, there is limited space at the centers. Most centers serve a limited number of patients at any given time due to bed availability, staff, and insurance. Unfortunately, the numbers do not tell a good outcome either in regards to the ability of the facilities treating patients. Of the 14,399 facilities surveyed by SAMHSA in 2016 served a little more than 1.1 million patients—far less than the 21 million people age 12 and older who needed treatment that year.

Geographic Limitations

As you research for rehab programs you will see that a large portion of programs in the United States is concentrated in states with high populations. In 2016:
● California had 1,430 treatment facilities.
● New York had 922 facilities.
● Florida had 716 facilities.
● Illinois had 675 facilities.

Conversely, states with low populations tend to have fewer facilities, and many of these states are quite large geographically—which means facilities are more spread out and harder to access for people in rural areas.

In 2016:
● Vermont had 46 treatment facilities
● Wyoming had 58 facilities
● Montana had 64 facilities


People in rural areas face difficult and particular hurdles to find treatment: 92% of the substance abuse treatment facilities in the United States are in urban areas. Rural areas face specific shortages in inpatient and partial hospitalization or day treatment programs since most are centralized in largely populated cities.

However, the lack of treatment options does not stop at centers and programs. 90% of the physicians who are approved to prescribe buprenorphine—a common medication used to treat opioid addiction—practice in urban areas. About 53% of rural counties do not have a physician who can prescribe it, and rural providers who can prescribe buprenorphine report high demand, a lack of resources, and long wait times for patients.

Another problem plaguing rural areas is also less likely to offer some specialty treatment addiction programs, such as those specifically tailored to certain genders or races. Coincidentally, patients in these areas also have a harder time maintaining their anonymity, especially since there are not as many facilities and they may be recognized in a group meeting at another facility.


All too often, financial limitations are one of the major barriers that prevent people from receiving treatment. Insurance can help cover the cost of substance abuse treatment, but many people remain uninsured due to:

● The high cost of insurance.
● The loss of a job.
● Losing Medicaid (for those who previously qualified).
● Lack of insurance through an employer.
● Change in family status.
● Believing that they don’t need coverage.

In fact, in 2016, 27.6 million people ages 0–64 did not have health insurance. Of that 27.6 million people, about 44% of these people were white, 33% were Hispanic, 15% were black, 5% were Asian/Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 3% were of another race, and three-quarters of them were in a household with one or more full-time workers.

Socioeconomic status also plays a role in whether someone can access and complete treatment. It has long been established as a risk factor that can prevent people from entering treatment. In fact, one study found that blacks and Hispanics were less likely to complete addiction treatment largely due to differences in socioeconomic status. Some states that were particularly among this demographic is higher unemployment and unstable housing.


Sadly, many people do not enter treatment because they think they can not afford it, which is sometimes true.

The actual cost that someone will pay for rehab depends on a number of factors such as:

● Insurance coverage.
● Length of treatment.
● Type of program (inpatient vs. outpatient).
● Treatment for physical and mental health problems.
● Where the program is located.
● Program amenities (gym, spa, chef-prepared meals, etc.).

The full cost of treatment can range from $15,000 to $27,000, depending on the factors above. Individual treatment option estimates are:

● Professional intervention services: $2,500 plus other expenses.
● Medically supervised detox: $500-$650 per day (private pay rate, no insurance).
● Partial hospitalization: $350-$450 per day (private pay rate).
● Inpatient care: $500-$650 per day (private pay rate).
● Intensive outpatient care: $250-$350 per day (private pay rate).
● Sober living home/halfway house: $1,500-$2,500 per month

Additional Challenges

In addition to the issues outlined above, there are a number of other reasons why people have a hard time getting help for an addiction.


This is a big one, especially in small towns. The stigma around addiction can affect someone’s decision to seek treatment. One study that looked at people’s reasons for not seeking treatment found that:

● 3% of respondents said they would lose friends if they went to treatment.
● 4% said people would think poorly or less of them if they sought treatment.
● 5% said their family would be embarrassed or ashamed of them if they went to treatment.

People also might not get help because they hold personal beliefs about treatment or themselves. The study further found that:

● 5% of respondents stated they did not like to talk in groups.
● 6% said they did not like talking about their lives with other people.
● 5% did not believe they had a problem with drugs.
● 3% said they did not think treatment would make their life better.


Women face several specific barriers to treatment, particularly around pregnancy and childcare. That because many programs do not offer services for pregnant women or childcare, and women may have trouble regularly attending treatment sessions due to family obligations.

Women are also more likely than men to experience economic barriers to treatment. Unfortunately, many have lower levels of education, rates of employment, and income. These risk factors play a part in why women are less likely to seek treatment. In addition, they may have less support from their families or partners to enter treatment and encounter more stigma and discrimination for their addictions.


Many people with addictions, woefully, will struggle with mental health disorders as well. When someone has a substance abuse problem and a psychiatric issue, it is known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. More than 8 million people aged 18 or older, or 3.4% of this population, was considered a dual diagnosis in 2016.

Unfortunately, this population is less likely to enter treatment than others who are not dually diagnosed. Only 7.4% get treatment for both conditions, and 55% do not get treatment at all.
A major barrier for those with a dual diagnosis is a lack of programs that can provide adequate treatment. 18% of substance abuse programs and 9% of mental health programs are equipped to properly treat co-occurring disorders.

It is difficult for this demographic. People with schizophrenia who also have a substance abuse problem may have exacerbated mental health symptoms. This can lower their motivation to seek treatment. Regrettably, people who are minorities or from lower socioeconomic backgrounds may believe that their mental illness or substance abuse adds another layer of stigma to their already marginalized situation.

How to Overcome Obstacles

Overcoming the barriers presented above is challenging. Because they occur on a number of levels: structural, systemic, personal, societal, and socioeconomic, it can be difficult to rise above.

A solution to help overcome the obstacles is looking for the right type of treatment that provides the necessary structure you need.


For people who struggle to afford or access the main types of rehab treatment (inpatient, outpatient, individual and group therapy), self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are free programs available in most cities around the country.

Someone suffering from alcohol use disorder might find solace going to a meeting with other people that have a problem drinking alcohol and need to stop drinking. Dr. Buscema and The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism can offer recommendations on the treatment of binge drinking, drugs and alcohol problems.

Both NA and AA use a 12-step model that includes working with a sponsor and receiving support from other people in recovery. Meeting times and information can be found on the websites for central offices for your city or by calling the offices directly. These programs have helped overcome issues with alcohol abuse and substance abuse problems.

For people who are not comfortable with the spiritual aspect of 12-step groups, there are a number of non-12-step programs such as SMART Recovery, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, LifeRing Secular Recovery, and Women for Sobriety. These programs promote self-reliance and develop programs based on the latest evidence-based approaches to addiction treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Whichever form of treatment someone decides it can drastically alter their life for the better. Those who consume alcohol in excess can suffer from chronic diseases, especially liver diseases.

What Else Can You Do?

Learning as much as you can about drug and alcohol abuse, addiction and co-occurring mental health issues, will help you understand more about what treatment is right for you or your loved one. Find a support group or person that can help you navigate your course of treatment. Dr. Charles Buscema at Addiction Alternatives can also assist in navigating the course of recovery.

Dr. Charles Buscema is there to help during the road to recovery. Offering a variety of services to ensure there is the right treatment for you and your loved ones. Reach out today to see how Addiction Alternatives is the best place to start your journey.