Have a Happy – Sober Holiday Season!

Holidsaytips-300x300There are many reasons that holidays can be a difficult time for someone who is trying to stay sober. It might not even be that a person has been addicted and is in recovery. It could just be that they realize they are not at their best when they drink or use drugs. Unfortunately, the holidays are a time that many people who might not indulge loosen their own restraints. Just being around people who are indulging can be difficult for a person who is trying to stay sober.

Of course, the major drug used during these times is alcohol. But other people may turn to prescription medications to deal with the stress of long days or problematic relationships with family. If they consume more pills than recommended or use someone else’s prescription, then they are abusing these drugs. Benzodiazepines, painkillers, sleep aids – these are all commonly abused prescription drugs. All of them are addictive and have problematic side effects. Some of them can be deadly, especially in combination.

The following are a few comments on holiday sobriety from people who have been there.

Why is it harder to stay sober over the holidays?

  1. Triggers abound during the holidays.
  2. It has to do with people’s expectations. Some people think it needs to be perfect. But it rarely is.
  3. Added pressures of gifts, decorating, family functions can create anxiety.
  4. Office parties, business gatherings, family parties, gift exchange parties (with alcohol at many).
  5. Family expectations, grudges, resentments sometimes come out of the woodwork when everyone is together. Especially if they have not been together during the prior year.

Surviving Holiday Parties

  1. Plan ahead. Know your strategies. Have a backup plan.
  2. Bring your own beverages.
  3. Go with a sober buddy or people who know you need to stay sober.
  4. If you have a Twelve Step Sponsor or mentor, contact them before the party. If need be, contact them during the party as well. Or set up a texting network with other people who need to stay sober. You can help them, they can help you.
  5. If you are doubtful about your ability to stay away from alcohol or drug use at a party, make other plans. Have your own intimate (and drug and alcohol-free) gathering. It is totally okay to respond, “I appreciate your thinking of me but I will not be able to make it.”

Good stress management is essential during this season.  Fighting off the temptations of the holiday season can be exhausting.  There are many things you can do to help clear your mind, such as deep breathing, taking a walk, and getting plenty of rest.  Our resident holiday planning expert Kevin G. lays out some more tips to help you make this holiday season one of the best and stay sober through it.


  • Send holiday cards early and often.  If you send out your cards early enough, you give people the chance to send one back.  If you have a new address, like I do this year, this will give everyone your new address.  You can even write your return address extra-large on the envelope so the recipients will take notice.
  • Sometimes, sending just a card is enough.  I know that I really appreciate getting Christmas cards from friends and family.  If you are expecting a card from someone, make sure that you check with mom and dad as there may be cards there with your name on it, meant for the whole family.
  • Don’t overspend on holiday gifts.  Remember that it’s the thought that counts.
  • Have fun!  The holidays should be enjoyable.  Indulge in decorations, cookies, presents, and Christmas lights and music!
  • Don’t forget to get religious – if you have faith!  This could mean attending a Christmas candlelight service or a Chanukah chabat.  There is a reason for the holiday season and it’s not just about parties and presents.  Get back to your roots.
  • Practice ingenuity.  Sometimes we can make gifts that will make our recipients realize we really care.  Oftentimes, we can add personal touches to such gifts, like burning a CD or crafting something with our hands, and save money in the process.
  • If you aren’t really close with someone but you want to buy that person a gift, consider giving a family gift.  For example, a DVD or board game that the whole family can enjoy together may be the perfect gift, and no one will be forgotten!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask people what they want.  It can be difficult choosing just the right gift for someone you love.  Sometimes people have Christmas lists and if you can get ahold of them it will be easy to get them something you know they want.
  • Re-gift with caution – it’s a controversial practice.  See: Seinfeld Episode on Regifting
  • If at all possible, deliver gifts personally.  I know that family and friends are often spread far and wide, but if you can deliver gifts in person, it may increase the chance that you will receive a gift in return, and it’s always nice to visit right?
  • Finally, see if you can make someone’s Christmas wish come true.  Do some sort of charitable act this Christmas season.  It will probably make you feel better and help someone who really needs help.

The key is to not pressure yourself. Be honest about the influences you can deal with and which ones you perhaps should wait awhile to deal with. Hopefully, those closest to you will support your need to take things at your own pace. If this ruffles some feathers, remind yourself that your sobriety can be a life and death matter. Someone who takes offense because you don’t show up for an event may not understand this but you do.

It might also work better for the first couple of holiday seasons to limit yourself to events where the other attendees will also be sober. This is why some people in recovery tend to socialize with other people in the same situation. With care, you’re going to be sober for a very long time, so missing a few holiday parties may be the best way to preserve your sobriety in the early days.


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Data seem to support the 12-step program’s benefits for addicts.

Does Science Show What 12 Steps Know?

France - Alcoholic Anonymous celebrates its 75th year

By Jarret Liotta

for National Geographic


 Science has never revealed as much about addiction—potential genetic causes, influences, and triggers, and the resultant brain activity—or offered as many opportunities and methods for initial treatment as it does now.

Even so, the grassroots 12-step program remains the preferred prescription for achieving long-term sobriety.

Since the inception of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.)—the progenitor of 12-step programs—science has sometimes been at odds with the notion that laypeople can cure themselves.

Yet the success of the 12-step approach may ultimately be explained through medical science and psychology. Both offer substantive reasons for why it works.

Climbing the Steps to Recovery

The “miracle” of A.A. can be traced to the evening of June 10, 1935, when a struggling alcoholic named Bill Wilson, fighting to stay dry while on a business trip to Akron, Ohio, met with an apparently hopeless drinker named Bob Smith in order to quell his own thirst.

It had been suggested to Wilson, through a religious organization called the Oxford Group, that talking to wet drunks about his experiences and trying to help them get sober would, in turn, help him stay dry. Smith, once a respected physician in the community, was referred to him as someone at bottom, beyond help.

Their discussion sparked the insight that the best hope for sobriety was a daily reprieve from alcohol, which stood with the singular practice of helping others.

Over the next five years, a non-denominational program emerged that drew much of its spiritual doctrine from Christian practices. It embodied an action plan in the form of 12 “steps” that are essentially guidelines for right living, including taking a personal inventory of one’s strengths and shortcomings, making restitution for past wrongs, and helping others find sobriety.

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Mike Bloom presents the Key To PRC to Dr Drew

We really love Dr Drew… Michael Bloom, Owner/Co Founder, Pasadena Recovery Center presented Dr Drew Pinsky with the “Key To Pasadena Recovery Center” at “An Evening With Dr Drew on Wednesday night November 19th 2014 in appreciation for all the years of service and support that Dr Drew has shown Pasadena Recovery Center and in anticipation of bigger and better things to come of our relationship with him, We love you Dr Drew!!!

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An Evening with Dr Drew at Pasadena Recovery Center November 19 2014

Pasadena Recovery Center hosted an “Evening With Dr Drew” with a standing room only crowd of over 200 guests and PRC residents on Wednesday night November 19th 2014. Dr Drew stopped by PRC on his way from CNN to give us one of his sensational talks on addiction and the process of recovery, answering questions from the audience then rushing off to his nightly live radio show “Loveline”. In case you weren’t able to be here in person you can catch the entire talk on video here.

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Former GUNS N’ ROSES Drummer STEVEN ADLER Says He Has Been Sober For Nine Months

guns-rosesOn October 26, Argentinean rock journalist Lucas H. Gordon conducted an interview with former GUNS N’ ROSES drummer Steven Adler and Steven’s wife Carolina on the red carpet at an evening of art with Billy Morrison and Joey Feldman benefiting the Rock Against MS foundation at Village Studios in Los Angeles, California. You can watch the chat below.

Asked what he has been up to in recent months, Adler said: “Right now I’m just taking care of myself. I’ve been having these problems with alcohol, and right now I’m just taking care of it. I have a nice program I’m working, and I’m looking forward to having one year [of sobriety]. Right now I’ve got nine months and eighteen days. And then next year I’m gonna start working and getting the band back together… I’m taking care of [my alcohol addiction] — cutting it off at the neck. I’m looking forward to going out and playing again. I have my record, ‘Back From The Dead’ [released under the ADLER band name], which I hope everybody will buy and listen to. And it’s just been very exciting. Having a new life is exciting.”

Little has been heard from ADLER since the band was forced to cancel its summer 2013 tour due to Steven checking into an undisclosed rehabilitation center to continue working on his sobriety.

Adler appeared on season two of on the “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew” show and the first season of the spin-off program “Sober House” back in late 2008 and early 2009. Adler then went on to stints in real rehab centers after being ordered to by a judge as part of a DUI bust. He subsequently returned for Season 5 of “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew” alongside Michael Lohan, Dwight Gooden and Bai Ling, among others.

“Celebrity Rehab Presents Sober House” included footage of Adler being arrested on July 18, 2008 after he showed up at a sober-living home high and in possession of heroin.

Steven Adler was the drummer for GUNS N’ ROSES from 1985 to 1990. He was eventually fired from the band due to his drug addiction, which caused him to spiral down into depression and more drug use.

Steven Adler’s autobiography, “My Appetite for Destruction: Sex, and Drugs, and Guns N’ Roses”, came out in July 2010. In the book, Adler tells all, fearlessly addressing his struggles with heroin and crack addiction; his financial ruin after being kicked out of GN’R; his shattered marriage; and the severe health problems that nearly claimed his life on several occasions.

ADLER’s debut album, “Back From The Dead”, was released in North America on November 26, 2012 via New Ocean Media.

ADLER is comprised of Adler, frontman Jacob Bunton (LYNAM, MARS ELECTRIC), guitarist Lonny Paul (ADLER’S APPETITE), and bassist Johnny Martin (CHELSEA SMILES).

GUNS N’ ROSES was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2012. Adler, Slash and bassist Duff McKagan attended the ceremony, while Axl and founding guitarist Izzy Stradlin stayed home.

For the Full Interview Click Here…


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October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month?


Why do we recognize National Substance Abuse Prevention Month?

Every day, far too many Americans are hurt by alcohol and drug abuse. From diminished achievement in our schools to greater risks in our roads and in our communities, to the heartache of lives cut tragically short, the consequences of substance abuse are profound. Yet, we also know that they are preventable.

Preventing drug use before it begins-particularly among young people-is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences. The best approach to reducing the tremendous toll substance abuse exacts from individuals, families and communities is to prevent the damage before it occurs.

The President’s Drug Control Strategy promotes the expansion of national and community-based programs that reach young people in schools, on college campuses, and in the workplace with tailored information to help them make healthy decisions about their future.  In fact, recent research has concluded that every dollar invested in school—based substance use prevention programs has the potential to save up to $18 in costs related to substance use disorders.

This month we pay tribute to all those working to prevent substance abuse in our communities and rededicate ourselves to building a safer, drug-free America.

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#14Days on the Wagon


Nearly 23 million Americans need treatment for a drug or alcohol problem, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports. If you’re not one of these people, chances are you know someone who is.

In response to these staggering numbers, and what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled an “epidemic” in the U.S., CBS News is introducing a series, #14Days on the Wagon, to increase awareness about addiction and generate support for those struggling with this life-threatening disease.

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World Famous Sportscaster and Critically Acclaimed Author Pat O’Brien to Speak at Pasadena Recovery Center


Pasadena, CA (PRWEB) October 02, 2014

Pasadena Recovery Center is pleased to welcome world famous sportscaster and author of the critically acclaimed, “I’ll Be Back Right After This,” Pat O’Brien to their groundbreaking speaker series on Wednesday October 8th at 12pm. O’Brien is best known for his work as a sportscaster with CBS Sports, as well as his work as the lead anchor and host of The insider and Access Hollywood. O’Brien covered six Olympic Games, the World Series, the Superbowl, the NBA Finals, the Final Four and has landed the coveted position as one of the most trusted names in sports news.

O’Brien became the face of CBS Sports, as the familiar and omnipresent voice on the sidelines of nearly every major arena throughout the 80s and 90s. O’Brien was a staple on the red carpet, breaking into the world of entertainment coverage with his impressive and extensive work on a plethora of nightly news shows. Pat O’Brien achieved immense respect and acclamation in multiple fields, which led him to the status of A-List in the worlds of sports and entertainment.

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Drug addiction viewed more negatively than mental illness, Johns Hopkins study shows

While both are treatable health conditions, stigma of addiction much more pronounced, seen as ‘moral failing,’ researchers say

Stephanie Desmon and Susan Morrow / October 1, 2014

Posted in HealthPolitics+Society

People are significantly more likely to have negative attitudes toward those dealing with drug addiction than those with mental illness, a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests, and generally don’t support insurance, housing, and employment policies that benefit those dependent on drugs.

A report on the findings, which appears in the October issue of the journal Psychiatric Services, suggests that society seems not to know whether to regard substance abuse as a treatable medical condition akin to diabetes or heart disease, or as a personal failing to be overcome.

“While drug addiction and mental illness are both chronic, treatable health conditions, the American public is more likely to think of addiction as a moral failing than a medical condition,” says study leader Colleen L. Barry, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the School of Public Health. “In recent years, it has become more socially acceptable to talk publicly about one’s struggles with mental illness. But with addiction, the feeling is that the addict is a bad or weak person, especially because much drug use is illegal.”

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White House Drug Policy Acting Director Announces Designation of 26 Cities and Counties as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas

White House Drug Policy Acting Director Announces Designation of 26 Cities and Counties as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas


Cities and Counties will Receive Additional Support from Federal Program Designed to Disrupt Drug Trafficking through Coordinated Approaches to Enforcement


Washington, D.C. –Today, Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), announced the designation of 26 additional counties and cities in 11 states as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs). The designations will enable the 26 counties and cities to receive Federal resources to further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement officials. It also will allow local agencies to benefit from ongoing HIDTA-coordinated initiatives working to reduce drug use and its consequences across the United States.


The newly designated cities and counties were added to the following HIDTAs:

  • ·         Appalachia HIDTA

o   Madison County, Kentucky

o   Nelson County, Kentucky

o   Tazewell County, Virginia

o   Harrison County, West Virginia

  • ·         Central Florida HIDTA

o   Pasco County, Florida

  • ·         Central Valley California HIDTA

o   Siskiyou County, California

o   Trinity County, California

  • ·         Houston HIDTA

o   Brazoria County, Texas

  • ·         New England HIDTA

o   Rockingham County, New Hampshire

  • ·         New York/New Jersey HIDTA

o   Dutchess County, New York

o   Putnam County, New York

o   Rockland County, New York

o   Chautauqua County, New York

  • ·         Oregon HIDTA

o   Ada County, Idaho

o   Canyon County, Idaho

o   Malheur County, Oregon

  • ·         Rocky Mountain HIDTA

o   Gallatin, Montana

  • ·         Texoma HIDTA

o   Potter County, Texas

o   Randall County, Texas

  • ·         Washington/Baltimore HIDTA

o   Berkeley County, West Virginia

o   Chesapeake, Virginia

o   Hampton, Virginia

o   Newport News, Virginia

o   Norfolk, Virginia

o   Portsmouth, Virginia

o   Virginia Beach, Virginia

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