What Makes Los Angeles Drug Abuse So Notorious?

Los Angeles Drug Abuse | Transcend Recovery Community

Blow, crack, booze, weed. There are countless names for countless drugs in America, and in the eyes of many, Los Angeles drug abuse is about as common as it gets. Yet despite its notoriety, the City of Angels is not exactly the worst place in the country when it comes to drug abuse – although some could argue that it’s the most well-known.

Behind all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and the homes of the upper class, Los Angeles is a city like any other, built on the backs of hard-working families, forged in the sweat of countless generations.

Millions of Americans inhabit and coexist on the streets of LA, throughout the different neighborhoods, soaking in the same California weather, living on the same little spot in the Golden State. Yet the disparaging differences between wealth and poverty can sometimes be jarring, and like any big city, crime is a major problem in LA.

But before you get the wrong idea about this city and its history with drugs and drug abuse, it’s important to take a look at the bigger picture and realize the sheer scale of drug usage and damage in the USA, across all 50 states.

 

Addiction Is Everywhere In America

Illicit drug use has been increasing nationwide, mostly due to a worsening opioid crisis that has been gripping the US for several years – the amalgam of bad medical policies, an influx of drugs from both abroad and at home, and a lagging healthcare system that struggles to help people, and educate them on how to get help.

Since the early days of addiction as a medical condition, to the era of the prohibition, and the last few decades of psychedelics and cocaine use, drugs have been a major problem in America for generations. Illegal drugs as well as alcohol have been the cause for thousands of drug-related deaths, from homicides and suicides driven by addiction and drug crime, to overdoses, accidents, and psychotic episodes.

Among Americans over the age of 12 back in 2013, about 9.4 percent of the population has recently used an illicit drug – and the number has been steadily rising these past five years. And contrary to some belief, Los Angeles drug abuse is not at the center of attention for addiction issues.

Statistics show that, regarding the recent and extremely volatile opioid crisis, the highest addiction rates come from prescription and heroin usage in the southern states, especially Texas, North Carolina, Florida and Alabama. Per capita, alcohol is more of an issue within the states of Washington, D.C., New Hampshire, Delaware and North Dakota than anywhere else. The top five states for marijuana usage are Alaska, Vermont, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. And methamphetamines, notorious for being easily made at home, while flowing from Mexico, and producing more drug-related offenses than any other illicit drug, is most pervasive in the south and Midwest in states like Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Montana.

Where does the notoriety come from? From drugs. They do exist, and there is Los Angeles drug abuse – as well as drug-related crime, which is a common issue for law enforcement. Explaining the prevalence of drugs and general notoriety of Los Angeles drug abuse requires a look into the factors that make drug use more common in a society.

 

A Populous City For Los Angeles Drug Abuse

Los Angeles is one of the most populous cities in America, with more than 4 million people, and all the trouble that comes with such a large population. Dense urban environments exist due to a demand and supply of work, and the hustle and bustle of LA is no different from any other metropolis, with the added caveat of unbearable heat at certain times of the year.

This also creates a problem with poverty and homelessness, which continues to be an issue in LA that fuels the use of drugs. Furthermore, a lack of comprehensive and wide-reaching drug treatment programs throughout the city to help young homeless people stay safe and get off drugs compounds the issue, and a lack of peripheral programs, such as needle exchange programs, creates more problems.

Policy is a major issue – the US lacks the healthcare system to deal with major diseases like addiction in a poor and uninsured population, and the impact made by charitable organizations is minimal.

Aside from the struggles of being an urban area, California’s proximity to the southern border and existing history of crime further leads to the presence of cartels in the state, and the result is criminal activity in the state on massive levels.

 

Glitz, Glamour, And Dope

Aside from drug use, Los Angeles is notorious in other ways – most notably the existence of Hollywood, and the glitz and glamour of the American entertainment business. However, it’s not all glamour – countless Los Angeles drug abuse scandals and more recent allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse have shown that, generally speaking, showbiz has its fair share of skeletons in the closet.

The pressure and stress of the business don’t help – people become commodities. A lack in ability or willingness to perform in the ultra-competitive environment of show business might lead to failure, so many push themselves to the edge and beyond trying to reach stardom, or maintain it.

The pressure of celebrity gets to most in one way or another, and some cannot deal with it in a healthy way – further contributing to Los Angeles drug abuse, and the city’s overall notoriety.

 

Stress Is the Number One Killer

The entertainment industry is not the only industry in Los Angeles that demands massive amounts of commitment, dedication, and hustle.

As any large city, “making it” can be difficult – and part of the stress of living in LA is living with its costs. As the country’s second-largest city, a tourist attraction for countless visitors, and a magnet for talent in every form, almost everything in LA is more expensive than in most other parts of the country. Rent alone sits at an average of over $2,000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, and a little less the further out you go from the city center.

Stress from a combination of factors that all come together in this one city contributes greatly to rampant Los Angeles drug abuse issues that are difficult to address fully. Sober living communities and Los Angeles drug abuse treatment centers are doing their best to aid people in the struggle against addiction and make a difference in the lives of those in LA.

 

Why Should You Get Clean For The Holidays?

get clean for the holidays | Transcend Recovery

The holidays are a time to celebrate family, love, or whatever religious holiday exists then. For different people the holidays mean different things, and the traditions and schedules change with religions and regions. For some people, it’s an opportunity to live life differently over the next 12 months – and get clean for the holidays, for example.

Traditionally, the winter solstice has always been a celebration for the approaching end of winter and the lengthening of daylight.

But since we don’t really have as much to fear of winter as we might have centuries ago, other traditions have come around to take that place, such as celebrating the end of a good year and looking forward to the beginning of a new, and potentially better year.

For many Americans, the holidays are also a time for reflection. They’re a time to look back over the past 12 months – and beyond – and make a note of what’s been done and left undone. Many people carry a great burden in their lives, and some carry more than one. Shedding that burden, or turning it into a source of strength is the only way to keep on walking – otherwise, we all fold under it sometime sooner or later. And through the reflection that the holidays offer, there’s no better time to deal with your addiction than right now and get clean for the holidays.

 

Get Clean For The Holidays: A Time For Family

Family matters – even if it’s not your own family, but a family you’ve created through friends and loved ones. And no matter what you believe in or what the holidays represent to you, it’s important to be with the people you love when celebrating the holidays – and when fighting against addiction to get clean for the holidays.

Combine the two together, and the holidays aren’t just a wonderful time to experience the love and togetherness of family – but also to combat addiction, and make a pledge to staying sober while surrounded by those who matter most to you, for whom you can get clean for the holidays and stay sober.

 

A Good Time For Good Food

Christmas and the holidays in general are almost always a time of major indulgence and subsequent food comas. But maybe, this year could be a little different. If you’ve already stuffed yourself for Thanksgiving, you could put a twist on this year’s solstice by going the other way – a healthier way.

This isn’t just meant to be a cruel joke on the family. Instead, it can further help you cement the holidays as your time to get clean for the holidays.

People vastly underestimate the role nutrition must play in successful drug recovery, especially early on when the food tastes of most people struggling with addiction generally tend to lie on the extremely sweet side of things. Early recovery sort of regresses our tastes to juvenile levels, and we crave fat and sugar as ways to refuel rather than real food. Why isn’t exactly certain, although some suspect that it has to do with the damage that drugs wreak on the brain’s reward center.

Alcohol, cocaine, prescription medication, black tar heroin – it all works on the brain differently, but affects the reward center in much the same way. These substances mess with the way you perceive pleasure, to the point that it cuts you off from truly being happy in conventional ways for quite a while.

This means your idea of what’s yummy doesn’t correlate with what’s healthy anymore. Most people can appreciate a delicious pasta meal, or a well-seasoned lean steak. Instead, your tastes are skewed heavily towards what most affects your reward center – and nothing affects your reward center like fat, salt and especially sugar.

This is because as kids, these are our primary cravings to ensure that the young human body gets as many calories as possible (because before civilization, agriculture and industry, we evolved over millions of years to crave high-calorie foods for survival). The instinct to rely on what satisfies our reward center returns after that part of the brain has been heavily assaulted by drug use.

Reversing that takes time – and the best way to start is by starting on a healthy diet.

Beyond your lust for sugar, there’s another aspect to using nutrition as a tool to fight the cravings of early recovery – and that’s to help your body heal, and to fight off the dangerous effects of binge eating, both physically and mentally. Highly nutritious food is also important to reverse the damage done to the human body by drugs, including organ damage, gut damage, and even brain damage.

Just taking vitamins won’t cut it, either. Refined vitamins might get partially absorbed into the body, but we rely on a complex variety of foods to truly be healthy. Vegetables include phytochemicals that increase the bioavailability of minerals and vitamins from other vegetables and fruits. Think salads, baked vegetables, casseroles, soups, stir fries. Steamed fish, seared steaks, organ meats and glazed chicken. There are countless ways to prepare a mix of vegetables and meats and enjoy a complex, harmonic and delicious symphony of tastes and aromas, all on a budget and all while adhering to the holiday spirit.

It just takes a little research, and you’ll have half a dozen recipes in twenty minutes.

 

The Holiday Spirit Of Gratitude

The holidays are a time for reflection – but that doesn’t just have to mean reflecting on past tragedies and burdens. There’s also a time to reflect on all the good things that have happened – and in all honestly, focusing on them can be much more beneficial to your conviction to get clean for the holidays.

There’s enough misery in addiction, and enough shame and burden in early recovery. Most people feel depressed soon after going sober, and it doesn’t help that life is extremely difficult to adjust to right out the gate. You may even want the help of a Los Angeles sober living community to help your recovery.

But in a time for gratitude, happiness and togetherness, sobriety can truly flourish. If ever there’s a time to soak up positivity and fight against your addiction with everything you have to get clean for the holidays, it’s while the holiday spirit is alive and well.

 

A Time For New Commitments

The holidays aren’t just the end of the year – they’re the prelude to new beginnings, and new commitments. Now is the time to prepare for a new year, and the chance to make things right – to start a second life, and appreciate every second you get to breathe in this world’s air and put your own two hands to use doing things you love and care about, leaving the life of addiction far behind for a life spent well.

 

The 2014 REEL Recovery Film Festival in Los Angeles

The 2014 REEL Recovery Film Festival in Los Angeles | Transcend Recovery Community

As the path of recovery continues on day by day, it’s always helpful to have a community of individuals with whom you immediately have a close bond. Though you may not know the men and women that make up certain sober living communities, by default you know generally what they’ve been through and what they’re seeking: long-term sober living.

For this reason, you may want to know about upcoming film festival in Los Angeles. The event is put on by Writers in Treatment, a nonprofit organization rooted in both recovery and the arts. They provide educational programs in prevention and awareness with their primary purpose being to save lives: through promoting and providing “TREATMENT” as the best first step solution for Addiction, Alcoholism and other Self-Destructive behaviors.

Each year they hold events in a number of cities around the country in order to encourage healthy conversation, prevention, education, and healing. The REEL Recovery Film in Los Angeles takes place this year beginning October 24 through October 30.

REEL Recovery Film Festival, Los Angeles Edition
October 24-30, 2014
Laemmie’s NoHo Cinema
North Hollywood, CA

It’s a seven-day celebration of the arts, film, and creativity. The purpose of the event is to share the journey of addiction, sober living, and recovery from life shattering addictions. This annual festival is unlike other recovery events in that it brings together the entire story of addiction from the dark points to the high points and everything in between. It’s focus is on drug addiction, alcoholism and recovery through the authentic portrayal of addiction-related issues through film.

It is an incredibly valuable experience, especially for someone who is early on their road to recovery, because it invokes inspirational and honest conversations. And because the event takes place in Los Angeles, there’s no question you’ll run into celebrities along with recovery experts, high quality mental health professionals, friends, family, and even strangers. Yet, no matter who you meet, everyone has one thing in common: an appreciation for the power of film to highlight life’s most challenging journey.

Yet, another powerful result of this event is prevention. As one recovery addict once pointed out: there are only three things an addict can look forward to and that is jail, an institution, or death. By highlighting the challenges of drinking and drugging, there’s potential for someone currently struggling with addiction to open the door to sober living. He or she will be in a community of those who have been able to make one of the biggest life changes – a step out of the addiction cycle and into the world of sober help and sobriety.

In fact, a current addict attending the film festival might be able to step away from the ritzy Los Angeles drinking circles as a result of attending the event. Although it might be hard to do, he or she will immediately have supportive individuals around along with the strong message through film that making such a change is more than possible. Whereas prior to attending the event, an addict might have felt as though such a change was impossible.

Research has shown that one of the most essential components to recovery is relationships and communities. In fact, it may be the most primary component before others parts of recovery are addressed such as a stable home life, meaningful work, and participating in a community.

This year’s Los Angeles Reel Recovery Film Festival is sure to highlight the benefits of sober living and possibly even save a life.

 

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You can find me on Twitter via @RecoveryRobert
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Seeking Sober Help: What You Resist, Persists.

Seeking Sober Help: What You Resist, Persists. | Transcend Recovery Community

There’s a saying in the mental health field: what you resist, persists. What you don’t actually face yourself with will continue to happen again and again. Perhaps that’s why most describe addiction as a cycle. It’s a repeating pattern of resisting something which only repeats and strengthens.

Typically, Drinking numbs you of feelings, but sadly, it only keeps in you in a dysfunctional cycle. There’s a strong, often unconscious need to be free of those feeling, but alcohol use only pushes them away and adds to their power over you. In fact, addiction is a cycle of self-harm, where those feelings are kept at bay, and doing so perpetuates the festering of those feelings, which in turn strengthens the need for drinking.

However, finding sober help means breaking through that cycle, stopping the cycle in its tracks by healing the underlying issues. Finding sober help means allowing yourself to get in touch with feelings, as challenging as they might be, and begin to unravel the events that may have caused those feelings in the first place. The only thing that will lead to sobriety and healing is the expression of those feelings in a safe environment with someone you trust.

In fact, addiction is not only about resistance; it’s also about trying to get something from the outside that you actually can only get within. It’s trying to get something out of the drinking or drug use that you can only find on the inside. Truly, as cliché as it sounds, what most people are looking for in a high state is love.

Yet, by dismissing feelings, by burying them underneath the drinking and the demands of life, they fester and grow and find their way out in a less than healthy form. Instead, love means embracing those feelings. Self-love means letting the lid off those feelings so that there’s more room to breath inside. Love means finding sober help and working through those feelings with someone you can feel safe with.

This is the point of working with a mental health professional. You can do this while simultaneously working with a treatment team who can address recovery from addiction. In fact, ideally, your recovery would include a holistic plan that includes the following:

  • Regular sessions with a medical doctor who can address the physiological needs of the body during recovery.
  • Regular sessions with a therapist to address unresolved events of the past and their associated feelings.
  • Regular sessions of family therapy to address the underlying issues present in the family system that could be contributing to the addiction.
  • Regular sessions with a substance abuse counselor to learn the dynamics of addiction and healthier ways to cope with challenging emotions.
  • Regular sessions in group therapy with others who are on the road to recovery, providing an environment of support.

Other methods of sober help and treatment might also include yoga/meditation for cultivating peace and inner connection, acupuncture to help balance the body, and meetings with a nutritionist to encourage a healthy relationship with the body and an overall sense of well-being.

Recovery is not easy, but with a team of professionals on your side, you can make the necessary changes to create a fulfilling and successful life.

 

If you are reading this on any blog other than Transcend Recovery Community or via
my RSS Feed, it is stolen content without credit.
You can find me on Twitter via @RecoveryRobert
Come and visit our blog at http://TranscendRecoveryCommunity.com/blog

Sober Living in Los Angeles: LA Ranks as a Top “Recovery City”

Sober Living in Los Angeles: LA Ranks as a Top "Recovery City" | Transcend Recovery Community

A recent article in the Huffington Post listed those cities across America that made getting sober easier than other cities. The services, halfway homes, and rehabilitative treatment centers found in these cities made it attractive destinations for finding sobriety.

Although the article wasn’t necessarily encouraging their readers to make a geographic move across the country, it might be fitting it you’re aiming to leave your old life behind – family, friends, compulsive lifestyle – in search for a healthier existence.

Of the top ten cities listed, facilities for sober living in Los Angeles were ranked number four! Among the various reasons to live in LA – to be an artist or actress, for example – now there is another reason – the city’s thriving sobriety community. There is a large fellowship of like-minded recovery addicts who have their eyes on long-term sobriety. The community includes over 3,100 Alcoholic Anonymous meetings per week where attendees tend to arrive early to mingle, meet, and support each other’s recovery process.

The community alone might draw you to Los Angeles, but perhaps you are curious about who you’ll meet at these meetings. It is LA, after all. So you’re bound to rub elbows with someone famous – an actor, performer, comedian – also seeking sobriety. Some of the celebrities speak at various meetings as way to spread inspiration, motivation, and determination to stay clean. They share their own stories as a way to lift those in earlier stages of their recovery. For instance, not long ago the former Disney star Demi Lovato started recovery and sober living in Los Angeles — she didn’t make a long-distance move to do so, however. Her home is also in LA. Or you might run into Patrick Range McDonald, a staff writer at the LA Weekly who continues to attend meetings in West Hollywood.

The point of this article, however, isn’t to suggest that where you get sober is more important than the process itself. Indeed, it’s going to be a challenging journey. However, some locations might be able to offer the healing tools you’re looking for. If you’re the kind of person who yearns for a large community, Los Angeles is it.

If you’d rather retreat into a quieter type of sober living, where your community is found among fewer amounts of people, you’re likely to find that in Los Angeles too; but perhaps another city might call you. Some of the other cities in the list of top ten were Boston (ranked #1), Delray Beach of South Florida, Houston, Minneapolis, Nashville, and Portland, OR.

If you’re struggling with the highs and lows of an addiction, perhaps finding a large community of those who are struggling with the same challenges can be supportive. And if that’s what you’re yearning, even if you’re living on the East Coast, maybe you do want to make a cross country move after all. Or, if you’re lucky, you already live in LA and will only need to make the choice to check yourself into a facility of sober living in Los Angeles.

 

If you are reading this on any blog other than Transcend Recovery Community or via
my RSS Feed, it is stolen content without credit.
You can find me on Twitter via @RecoveryRobert
Come and visit our blog at http://TranscendRecoveryCommunity.com/blog

Sober Living & Recovery: A Life Process, Not a Life Event

When you reached your absolute worst, when there was nothing else to lose because all else was already lost, when you were at the very bottom, likely that’s when you decided to get sober. Perhaps you were in a car accident and almost lost your life, perhaps your wife left, or perhaps your children no longer want to spend time with you – whatever the reason that prompted you to get sober – that was the event that made you seek recovery. However, from that low place, from that earth-shattering event, a process begins. Sober living is a step-by-step path, not a one-time event. It’s a procedure, a means to an end, not necessarily the end itself. Continue reading “Sober Living & Recovery: A Life Process, Not a Life Event”

“Women’s Sober Living Transformed Me After a Lonely Life of Addiction”

Joan: "Women's Sober Living Transformed Me After a Long, Lonely Life of Lying & Addiction" | Transcend Recovery Community

Addiction is a lie told over and over again. Anyone who is addicted to drinking or drugs or both will continue to tell themselves the same story again and again until deep inside breaks. And, usually that break is a deep despair, an unbearable desperation. That being said, this is a story of a life that began with loneliness upon lies that rapidly escalated into addiction, and finally, a life-changing experience — the transformation at a womens sober living treatment facility that one lucky woman will never forget. That lucky woman is Joan, and this is her story. Continue reading ““Women’s Sober Living Transformed Me After a Lonely Life of Addiction””

Trends of the Best Sober Living Environments on West Coast

Trends of the Best Sober Living Environments on West Coast | https://transcendrecoverycommunity.com

After you’ve been in a rehabilitative treatment center and before you return to your life again, there are environments in which you can find support for your sobriety. The best sober living homes were established on the West Coast, specifically in California, and have spread around the country. They are environments that incorporate recovery interventions, a milieu of sober living, and often utilize the 12-step program to facilitate sobriety in their guests. Continue reading “Trends of the Best Sober Living Environments on West Coast”

The Best Sober Living Homes Will Meet the Code of Ethics

The Best Sober Living Homes Will Meet the Code of Ethics | https://transcendrecoverycommunity.com

If you’re looking for a way to reach sobriety but you’ve heard horror stories about halfway houses, you should know that the Los Angeles County Sober Living Coalition has established regulations on how a sober living home runs its business in Los Angeles.

Regardless of whether you are considering a sober living home in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, or another part of the city, the best sober living homes out there always abide by a particular code of ethics. Continue reading “The Best Sober Living Homes Will Meet the Code of Ethics”

John: ‘Why I Chose Sober Living for Men Only’

John: 'Why I Chose Sober Living for Men Only' | https://transcendrecoverycommunity.com

John has an obsession with women. He loves them. He wants to buy them things, adore them and show them the utmost respect. His obsession isn’t anything weird or strange; it’s just that he likes to spend time with women. To him, they’re nicer, prettier, and more interesting than men!

But when his drinking got out of control yesterday, he knew he needed to spend time in a facility of sober living for men only. And more importantly, he knew that he couldn’t be around women. They were going to be a huge distraction and keep him away from what he needed to do there: get sober! Continue reading “John: ‘Why I Chose Sober Living for Men Only’”