Christmas in Recovery: The 12 Gifts of Sobriety

Real recovery is the best Christmas gift you can give yourself and your family.

While active addiction is all about loss – sobriety, stability, self-respect, and sanity—recovery promises wonderful gifts. If we are willing to work at our recovery, we are rewarded with real blessings .

The very first day of residential detox,  we are continuously reassured that it does not matter how much our addiction stolen from us, recovery IS possible, and life DOES get better.

This Christmas season, let us pause for reflection on and appreciation for all of the gifts that sobriety can bring into our lives.

Gift #1: Hope Replaces Despair

We believe that there IS a way out of active addiction.

Gift #2: Faith Replaces Doubt

We know that if we work our program of recovery, our lives WILL get better.

Gift #3: Courage Replaces Fear

We gain the strength to face our problems instead of running from them.

Gift #4: Clarity Replaces Confusion

Coming out of the foggy world of compulsive substance use, we get a better sense of ourselves and our lives.

Gift #5: Self-Respect Replaces Self-Contempt

We learn to love and value our own selves.

Gift #6: Self-Confidence Replaces Low Self-Esteem

We gain a greater appreciation of our strengths.

Gift #7: Empowerment Replaces Helplessness

We become capable of handling life’s challenges.

Gift #8: Respect Replaces Pity

Others start to believe in us again.

Gift #9: A Clean Conscience Replaces Guilt and Shame

Because we try to do what’s right, we aren’t burdened by regret for our actions.

Gift #10: True Relationships Replace Loneliness

We enjoy the love of people who really care about us.

Gift # 11: Purpose Replaces Chaos

Stronger and more secure in ourselves, we can live more productive lives.

Gift #12: Freedom Replaces Bondage

Best of all, when we aren’t controlled by our addictions, we can live the lives we deserve, becoming who we were always meant to be.

True freedom from active addiction means that we proudly proclaim our RIGHT to be healthy and happy. We have the RIGHT to have good things, positive relationships, contentment in the present, and hope future.

When we take time to acknowledge the gifts of sobriety and recovery, we reaffirm our own value. Even better, appreciating what we gain and re-gain helps support our continued sobriety, because we don’t want to lose it all again.

The holidays are a perfect time for new beginnings and personal renewal. So if you are struggling with any kind of substance use issues—alcoholism, illicit drug addiction, or the misuse of prescription medications-- Chapman House Treatment Centers can help you regain your sobriety and your life.

As the leading alcohol and drug rehab program in Orange County, California, Chapman House employs evidence-based treatment strategies that support your complete and lasting recovery from addictive and mental health disorders. Whether you need detox, residential rehab, an Intensive Outpatient Program, or even partial hospitalization, Chapman House is the trust resource you need.

To get help NOW, contact Chapman House TODAY.

Sober Thanksgiving: Gratitude During Recovery

True recovery means regaining joy and receiving the blessings that addiction threatened to take away forever.  When you get another chance at life after out-of-control addiction, gratitude is more than just appropriate – it is absolutely essential for successful and enduring sobriety.

No matter what point you are at in your recovery – just starting out or working on several years – there are several reasons to be thankful for the sobriety that you have right now.

You Are YOURSELF Again

Addictive substances like alcohol and drugs hijack your brain and alter your personality.  Soon, you become almost unrecognizable, even to yourself. As you heal during recovery and your brain chemistry returns to normal, you become the real YOU once again.

And freed from the constant compulsion to use and drink , you also are freed to make your own choices. YOU are in charge, not your addiction.

You See Things Clearly

Many people new to recovery recall describe their old actively-addictive life as confusing, almost as if it was being seen by through the fog.  But when your vision is no longer clouded by alcohol and drugs, you can see things as they actually are.  This helps you to consciously act in a thoughtful manner, rather than simply reacting to every imagined problem.

Real Fun Without the Guilt

To active addicts, “partying” means getting drunk or high as often as possible.  And when the good times are over, you are burdened with remorse and shame. In successful recovery, you can enjoy yourself alcohol-and-drug-free with your friends and family and worry about waking up tomorrow feeling guilty.

You are Present for Your Life

Addiction robs you of your experiences and memories.  When all of your time was spent drug seeking and using, you missed out on life’s special moments—birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc.   Even if you managed to show up, you were often too wasted to remember.  In recovery, you are aware and present for the important occasions in your life. Best of all, you get to keep the memories.

Relationships Can Be Repaired

Addiction isolates you from your family and friends. But as you recover physically and mentally, you can work on bridging the distance. In fact, the Steps of Recovery talk about the need to apologize and make amends. Don’t worry about rejection—if you are sober and sincere, you will be pleasantly surprised how many people are rooting for you.

A Chance to Give Back

Active addiction meant you were focused entirely on your own substance-fueled needs.  But recovery puts you in the unique position to help other people who are still as lost as you once were—by volunteering, serving at 12-Step meetings, or even just by talking it out when they are tempted.  And here’s a wonderful bonus— serving others keeps YOU sober.

You are reading this today because you are still here, and that is the greatest reason of all to give thanks this season. Tragically, too many people never made it to today. They ran out of chances. Be grateful for yours and make the most of it.

Chapman House drug rehab in Orange County is ready to assist you in regaining your sobriety, reclaiming your life, rediscovering joy and hope, and realizing your many blessings.

To take the first, most important step on your journey of recovery, contact Chapman House TODAY.




Destroying Lives: The Dangers of GHB

“(GHB) is the most addictive drug I’ve ever seen. People are desperate to get off of it because it’s destroying their lives.”

~ Dr. Stephen W. Smith

Some people say obtaining GHB is as easy as "ordering a pizza". And although it’s highly illegal, the drug is sold openly on the Internet online, often falsely labeled as “fish tank cleaner”, “stain remover”,  or some other harmless-sounding product.

Like other synthetic “party” drugs, GHB occupies a very specific niche among substances of abuse. Even though it is not as commonly-used as some other illicit drugs, there is nonetheless a growing core of abusers who use it as part of the rave culture.

 Club/Party drugs are abused by people who frequently attend parties, nightclubs, discos, and raves. They produce stimulant, aphrodisiacal, and hallucinogenic effects that enhance the club experience.

GHB – What You Need to Know about this “Social” Drug

Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid”, or GHB, has a legitimate medical use as a treatment for narcolepsy. This is part of the reason why it is so popular among partygoers, because in small recreation doses, it is a stimulant that allows users to stay awake, party longer, and drink more. However, at higher doses, it paradoxically acts as a depressant.

Reported effects include:

  • A euphoric high
  • Greater sociability
  • Increased affection
  • Enhanced sexual pleasure
  • Deepened music appreciation

GHB’s effects are felt in less than 30 minutes, and last up to 6 hours. While pills can cost $25 apiece, single swigs of the liquid can be purchased for as little as $5.

GHB—Street Names

The most-frequently-heard names for GHB or  “Liquid Ecstasy” or “Liquid X”, but other names include:

  • Goop
  • Lollipop
  • Easy Lay
  • Georgia Home Boy
  • Grievous Bodily Harm

GHB and Date Rape

GHB is usually sold as a colorless, odorless and nearly tasteless liquid that can be mixed with soft drinks or cocktails. This is very frequently without the recipient’s knowledge, leading to:

  • Extreme suggestibility, passivity, and compliance
  • Amnesia
  • Increased sexual arousal

This dangerous combination leaves victims vulnerable to sexual assault or violence.

Adverse Side Effects and Hazards of GHB

GHB has negative side effects ranging from merely unpleasant to downright dangerous to even potentially deadly:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Incontinence
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache
  • Profuse sweating
  • Uncontrollable tremors
  • Unintelligible or slurred speech
  • Respiratory depression
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Organ damage, especially to the liver and kidneys
  • Coma
  • Death

GHB is often “homemade” in illicit, unsafe makeshift labs. These crude batches can vary wildly in terms of purity, potency, and even formulation. Some GHB “recipes” use dangerous chemicals such as drain cleaner or floor stripper. In recent years, it has been linked to multiple deaths in Orange County.

How Addictive is GHB?

The addictive quality of drugs can be measured by the severity of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can be harshly unpleasant:

  • Extreme agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Profuse perspiration
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Delirium

The painful symptoms of GHB withdrawal make it unlikely that an addict will be able to stop using completely on their own. Professional help is nearly always needed—intervention, detox, medication, and ongoing treatment.

If you live in Southern California and you want to stop using GHB and other club drugs, Chapman House Treatment Centers is the resource you need. Since 1978, Chapman house has been one of the most-trusted drug rehabs in Orange County, and we can help you successfully and safely regain your sobriety.

If you are ready to get help NOW, contact Chapman House TODAY.

by Albert Fontenot

Teenagers and Young Adults Who Give Up Marijuana See Improved Cognition

“We were pleasantly surprised to see that at least some of the deficits that we think may be caused by cannabis appear to be reversible, and at least some of them are quickly reversible, which is good news.”

~ Dr. Randi Schuster, Ph.D., Director of Neuropsychology, Center for Addiction Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

A brand-new study has determined that young people who stop using marijuana realize major cognitive benefits almost immediately, particularly to verbal memory and learning. This is encouraging news, because it promotes a measurable benefit of giving up drugs.

Marijuana and Mental Health

"For an adolescent sitting in their history class learning new facts for the first time, we're suspecting that active cannabis users might have a difficult time putting that new information into their long-term memory.”

~ Dr. Randi Schuster, Ph.D.

Despite the widespread perception that marijuana is harmless, medical science has proven otherwise.

Marijuana use is especially dangerous for teenagers and young adults because as Dr. Schuster explains, “The adolescent brain is undergoing significant neurodevelopment well into the 20s, and the regions that are last to develop are those regions that are most populated by cannabis receptors and are also very critical to cognitive functioning.

In other words, when young people use marijuana, they are overly at-risk of harm. In fact, another brand-new study found that pot is more dangerous to teenage/adult brains than alcohol.

Some of the mental health conditions that are caused or worsened by chronic marijuana use include:

The Benefits of Giving Up Marijuana

From this study, there is a positive news.

When a teenager or young adult stops smoking marijuana, the improvements to cognition rapidly become apparent.  For example, much of the verbal memory improvements happens within the first week. This is measured in the ability of participants to learn and retrieve new information.

Of possible concern, participants’ attention did not improve, even after abstaining from marijuana use for four weeks.  However, the other improvements happened so quickly, researchers are not particularly discouraged. Dr. Krista Lisdahl, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Psychology with the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, who was not involved in the study, says, “I remain optimistic that we can show recovery of function with sustained abstinence.”

What Does this Information Mean to You?

There are two major things to keep in mind.

FIRST, underage marijuana use IS a very big deal. The negative impact on the still-underdeveloped young brain are pronounced. Some effects may be long-term or even permanent.

SECOND, there are ALWAYS benefits to recovery.

If you or someone you care about are dependent on marijuana, contact Chapman House Treatment Centers TODAY to get the support and help you need. As the leading drug rehab program in Orange County, California, Chapman House gives you the tools to craft a safe and successful return to sobriety.



Overcoming Cravings During Recovery

A craving or longing for alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs is very common, especially in the early weeks and months of stopping substance use, regardless of how motivated clients are to stay substance-free… Therefore, being able to identify and label cravings is necessary for recovery to progress.”

~ Dennis C. Daley and G. Alan Marlatt, Managing Your Drug or Alcohol Problem

No matter how motivated a person in recovery from addiction is, there are still times when they face the temptation to use or drink again. While “relapse is a part of recovery” is an old phrase thrown about too often, there are useful strategies, effective treatments, and approved medications that can ensure that relapse is one part of recovery that can be avoided.

Unmanaged Cravings Lead to Relapse

Cravings are the powerful urge to drink alcohol or use drugs again. The can be so overwhelming as to completely override good intentions or willpower. They are caused by three factors:

  • Changes within the brain – Chronic drug or alcohol abuse alters the brain’s reward system. When someone is severely physically dependent upon an intoxicant, they cannot experience pleasure or motivation without being under the influence. In other words, a craving can be thought of as the brain’s response to the absence of substance.
  • External Triggers– Anything or anyone associated with past substance use:
  • People – drugging/drinking buddies, family and friends who drink or use
  • Places – liquor stores, bars, nightclubs, drug dealer’s house, anywhere where use normally took place
  • Things – drug paraphernalia such as bongs, rolling papers, needles, empty bottles, etc.
  • Internal Triggers – Negative emotions such as:
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • Depression
  • Frustration
  • Guilt
  • Helplessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Jealousy
  • Resentment
  • Sadness
  • Shame
  • Unworthiness

Fighting Cravings

Avoidance is always the best strategy in recovery. Wherever possible, physically avoid external triggers. While avoiding internal triggers can be harder, staying busy and keeping your mind occupied is an excellent strategy:

  • Stay physically active — exercise, go for walks, ride a bike, etc.
  • Listening to music—Music has been shown to regulate mood.
  • Meditation—Just 11 daily minutes of mindfulness meditation reduces alcohol cravings and consumption.
  • Read recovery literature
  • Keep a journal –  Charting how your cravings come and go helps you better tolerate them.
  • Get busy—Pursue your hobbies and cultivate new interests.
  • Be social—To combat loneliness, meet with sober friends or family members.
  • Use Your support system—You are not alone. When cravings hit their hardest, you can:
  • Call your sponsor
  • Talk it over with your therapist
  • Discuss it in group therapy
  • Attend a 12-Step fellowship meeting
  • Have a “sober buddy” sit with you.

Medications That Help with Cravings

Depending upon your drug history and substance of choice, there may be medications that can help:

  • Acamprosate (Alcohol)
  • Buprenorphine (Opioids)
  • Methadone (Opioids)
  • Naltrexone (Opioids and Alcohol)

If you live in Southern California and need help for an addictive disorder, the trained and experienced professionals at Chapman House Treatment Centers are your go-to resource.  Since 1978, Chapman house has been one of the most-trusted alcohol and drug rehab programs in Orange County.

Click HERE to get help NOW.


Watching What You Eat During Recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder

All of the foods which are used to produce alcoholic beverages by themselves can cause many of the symptoms of alcoholic beverage use… Physical illness associated with mental and behavioral aberrations.”

~Dr. Stephen J. Gislason, M.D., Alcohol Problems and Solutions

Alcoholism is a disease that has profound effects on a person’s physical and mental health. But one of  most-overlooked aspects of successful recovery is how important it is to eat right to heal from that damage.

Alcohol is a Co-Carcinogen

Did you know that alcohol promotes the growth of cancer cells?  Every year, approximately 19,500 people in the United States die from alcohol-related cancers, especially of the:

  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Liver
  • Pancreas

But there is good news – eating the right foods helps repair some of the damage.  Diet directly influences up to 70% of all cancers.  But

Food Allergies and Alcohol

Per the International Journal for Biosocial Research, over 70% of Alcohol Use Disorder patients also have food allergies, especially to:

  • Peanuts – 14%
  • Eggs – 14%
  • Corn – 22%
  • Beef – 22%
  • Milk – 50%
  • Wheat – 58%

There is also evidence suggesting a link between mental illness and food allergies.  This is important because the connection between addiction and mental illness has already been well-established.

Hunger Triggers Alcohol and Drug Cravings

One of the first lessons taught in early recovery is to never get “too hungry”. Hunger and low blood sugar are often mistaken for drug or alcohol cravings. This can lead directly to a relapse. This  is why recovering addicts and alcoholics should always carry healthy snacks with them – fruit, nuts, granola, etc.

Avoid Foods Containing Alcohol

“Beware of desserts.  My local ‘fine restaurant’ offered 8 different deserts. When I asked which ones contained alcohol (so I could avoid eating those) I was told that 7 of them contained alcohol and the vanilla ice cream was alcohol free.”

~ Nate R., recovering alcoholic

One of the responsibilities of recovery is cultivating an awareness of what you are putting into your body.  You should always be aware of how the food you eat affects your physical and mental well-being.

People in recovery should avoid foods that contain alcohol.  But to do that, you have to first educate yourself.  For instance, there is an assumption that it is “safe” to cook with alcohol, because the cooking process evaporates the alcohol and only leaves the flavor.

But that isn’t always true.  But the degree of evaporation entirely depends upon the temperature and cooking method.  As a result, small amounts from alcohol can be left behind, possibly triggering cravings.

Additionally, there are hundreds of foods and condiments that contain alcohol:

  • Some barbecue sauces
  • Béarnaise and bordelaise sauces
  • Beer-battered items – onion rings, fish, etc.
  • Beer bread
  • Desserts – bananas foster, cherries jubilee, tiramisu, etc.
  • Extracts and flavorings
  • Marinades
  • Certain pasta sauces
  • Salad dressings
  • Wine vinegars

What Does All This Mean?

Here’s the biggest takeaway—watching what eat plays a role in your successful recovery from AUD.  A proper diet can reduce cravings, repair damage, replenish depleted nutrients, and ultimately, help safeguard your sobriety.

If you drinking has affected your physical or mental health and you are ready to get better, Chapman House Treatment Centers can help.  As one of the most-trusted alcohol rehabs in Orange County, California, Chapman House gives you the support you need to safely and successfully regain your sobriety.

To get help NOW, contact Chapman House TODAY.

Jamie Lee Curtis on Sobriety: ‘Halloween’ Star Nearing 20 Years in Recovery

“If you had to pinpoint one thing that will be important at the end of my life, it would be my sobriety.”

~ Jamie Lee Curtis

At 59, Jamie Lee Curtis just may be hotter than ever. Just in time for its namesake holiday, her latest film, Halloween, has resurrected the iconic horror movie franchise that made her a star.  After the lifetime in the entertainment industry, Curtis is sublimely serene and self-assured, having established herself not just as a Golden Globe-winning actress, but also as a best-selling author, inventor, blogger, and philanthropist.  And although  she rejects the use of the title, she’s also a Baroness, through the customs of British peerage.

But her life wasn’t always this charmed.

Curtis once struggled mightily with both alcoholism and an addiction to opioid painkillers. As happens for many other people who struggle with any kind of Substance Use Disorder, there were several factors that played a role in her addiction.

Contributing Factors: Jamie Lee Curtis and Addiction

“I too, waited anxiously for a prescription to be filled for the opiate I was secretly addicted to. I too, took too many at once. I too, sought to kill emotional and physical pain with pain killers. Kill it. Make it stop.

~Jamie Lee Curtis

Although scientists have not found a single cause that is completely responsible for Substance Use Disorder, they have identified several risk factors that play significant roles.  Jamie Lee Curtis met the criteria for at least five:

  • GeneticsOver half of a person’s likelihood of developing SUD is attributed to heredity. Both alcohol abuse and drug addiction both run in her family. Her father, legendary actor Tony Curtis, was addicted to alcohol and cocaine, and her brother died of a drug overdose when he was only 23 years old.
  • Childhood Exposure—Parental substance use exerts the biggest influence on their children’s later behaviors. In fact, 82% of parents who use alcohol raise children who drink. Tony Curtis has admitted, “In my user days, I was drinking a lot around Jamie and taking a lot of pills.”
  • Parental Alienation—Curtis’ parents broke up in 1962. From that point on, she had a strained relationship with Tony. According to Jamie, he was “not around” after the divorce. She goes further, saying, “He was not a father. He was not interested in being a father.”

The timing of split matters a great deal, because the absence of a parent during that child’s first five years of life—the so-called “formative years”— negatively affects the ability to form  emotional bonds.

For people who are already genetically vulnerable to SUD—like Jamie Lee Curtis—drugs and alcohol chemically replace that bond and artificially satisfy the real biological need for close human contact.

  • Self-Esteem Issues—Curtis believes that Hollywood’s “perfection-at-any-costs” culture affected how she saw herself. She had plastic surgery while still in her early 30’s because someone supposedly noticed bags under her eyes. Not surprisingly, the experience failed to make her feel any better. Her issues were emotional, not physical.

I attempted various types of plastic surgery, minutely but enough to stave off this encroaching middle-aged body. And every time I did, something went wrong. I felt misshapen, just not natural any more. I think it was a big stimulator of my drug abuse.”,  she admits.

  • Post-Surgical Pain—Following her cosmetic surgery, Curtis was given opioids for pain and soon developed a serious addiction that lasted more than 5 years. At one point, it was so severe that she stole the medicine her sister Kelly was taking for a broken arm.

How Did Jamie Lee Curtis Regain Her Sobriety?

There’s no reason to lie about this. There’s been enough alcoholism in my family…I was scared drink was becoming important. It was not any big, earth-shattering thing, luckily. The point is that you can choose sobriety.”

~ Jamie Lee Curtis

Well into her addiction, Curtis got into terrible arguments with her teenage daughter almost every day. These went way past normal daughter-mother rows and were so bad that Curtis started worrying if her drinking and drug use was interfering with her ability to parent. Spurred by concern about how her drinking and drug use was affecting her children, she made the decision to quit.

Curtis knows that she was lucky that things weren’t even worse. For example, her career wasn’t ruined, she didn’t get a divorce or lose her family, and there were no serious health scares. Some people have to lose much more before they hit the “rock bottom” that motivates them to change.

And that is the key to successful recovery—finding the right motivation.

Jamie Lee Curtis Today

As soon as I got sober, which is 20 years coming up in February, everything changed. Because it was a big, big acknowledgement that I could not do all of the things I was trying to do…That’s the single greatest accomplishment of my life.”

~ Jamie Lee Curtis

Curtis has been in successful recovery since early 1999.

Part of it has been changing the attitudes and behaviors that were a problem.  To avoid worrying about what other people think about her looks or obsessing over trying  to meet Hollywood’s unrealistic beauty standards, she has stopped dying her hair and instead opts for her natural gray. She also no longer wears high heels, sacrificing glamour for comfort.

But the other part of such lasting recovery is acceptance. Rather than trying to constantly control everyone and everything around her, Curtis now trusts that she is precisely where she is supposed to be at this point in her life—as an actress, a wife, a mother, and as a human being.

And that’s what makes her happy and keeps her sober.

At some point, you have to be okay with it. Because if not, it will make you go crazy. I have accepted long ago to go where the love is,” she says.

The story of Jamie Lee Curtis and her path from addiction to sobriety is inspiring, and it highlights the truth that RECOVERY IS POSSIBLE.  So if you are ready  you to get help for yourself, Chapman House Treatment Centers can help. As one of the leading rehab programs in Orange County, Chapman House uses an evidence-based treatment strategy that allows you to regain your health, your balance, and your sobriety.


Overcoming Stigma: Coming Out as an Alcoholic

"I always drank, from when it was legal for me to drink. And there was never a time for me when the goal wasn't to get as hammered as I could possibly afford to. I never understood social drinking, that's always seemed to me like kissing your sister."

~Steven King

One of the first lessons learned by people new to recovery is to avoid those people, places, and things that might trigger a relapse into active drinking.

Oddly enough, in that regard, drug addicts may actually have it a bit easier than alcoholics.

Life as an Alcoholic: A Daily Double Standard

How could that be?

Simple – drinking is accepted in society. In some settings, it's even expected. While a person trying to recover from drug addiction can guard against temptation by avoiding other drug users, a newly-sober alcoholic is confronted with alcohol almost EVERYWHERE – restaurants, movies and TV, advertisements, and especially, everyday social situations.

Alcoholic Hurdles: Social Stress and Stigma

Although Alcohol Use Disorder is a recognized illness, it still carries a considerable stigma. At best, making one’s illness known in a social or professional setting is potentially awkward and embarrassing.  But at worst, it can be social or career suicide.

Some alcoholics hide their condition, because they don't want to call attention to this very private, personal issue  every time they are in a social or public situation.

But at the same time, so many different social settings typically include alcohol – dates, dinners, get-togethers with friends,  and even office parties.   Turning down a drink invites unwanted speculation.

Many people with AUD also struggle with co-occurring disorders such as anxiety. And the real and imagined peer pressure thy feel when turning down a drink can worsen that anxiety.  Instead of  explaining over and over and growing more and more anxious, they give up and try to drink socially.

But the nature of AUD means that ANY drinking can lead to relapse.

The Good Kind of Alcoholic Selfishness

Here’s the thing– absolutely nothing is more important for an alcoholic in recovery than maintaining their sobriety.

Staying sober must come before ANYTHING else – friends, dates, coworkers, and especially the compulsive need to meet other people’s expectations.

That sounds selfish because IT IS – and that's perfectly okay.

Active AUD is selfish in many destructive ways, taking everything from both the sufferer and from those around them. In recovery, the alcoholic must remain selfish, but in a positive way that preserves their sobriety, their sanity, and their serenity.

So what is a recovering alcoholic supposed to do when they are offered a drink at a social event?

Whatever they are comfortable with.

In most cases, a polite "no, thank you" is enough. Most people won't push a drink someone else’s hand and insist that they drink. When further explanation is necessary, it's fine to say, "I don't drink". There is no  need to elaborate.

The point is this is – a recovering alcoholic doesn’t owe an explanation to anyone if they're not comfortable.

Practical Tips for the Newly-Sober Alcoholic

For alcoholics in early recovery, here are some ways to stay alcohol-free without attracting attention:

  • At parties, carry around a cup with a non-alcoholic beverage. No one is going to check.
  • Make a point of ALWAYS getting your own drinks.
  • Deflect questions by answering that you have medical condition that does not allow drinking. This is 100%
  • Give no explanation. You don't have to.

Lynsey Romo, Assistant Professor of Communication at North Carolina State University, recently authored a study looking at how alcoholics in recovery reacted to temptation within social settings. She talked about the need to remove the stigma attached to AUD.

"The findings tell us that former problem drinkers can find it tricky to navigate social situations where alcohol is involved and makes clear it's important to support those who aren't drinking and did not push non-drinkers to disclose their reasons for not having a drink."

Chapman House Treatment Centers has provided premium addiction recovery services in Orange County since 1978. If you or someone you care about is struggling with alcoholism or any other the abuse of any other substance, Chapman House can help.


Surrender, Don't Give Up

"Surrender to what IS. Let go of what WAS. Have faith in what WILL BE."

~Sonia Ricotti, author of The Law of Attraction Plain and Simple: Create the Extraordinary Life That You Deserve

Recovery from addiction is a step-by-step process. The first, most important step is admitting the problem and the need for help. The person must be honest—their life has become unmanageable because of their out-of-control substance abuse.

But addicts are stubborn. After making initial progress, many new to recovery will resist what comes next. The idea that they must surrender control of their life is unthinkable. It is their life, after all.

Here’s the reality—they already gave up any control they once had– to their disease of addiction.

Surrender: Relinquishing Control

During active addiction, the disease gains control because of the person's stubborn insistence on SELF – selfishness, self-delusion, self-pity, and self-seeking. This egotistical mindset makes recovery even harder or even almost impossible. The 12 Steps of Recovery calls this the "bondage of self".

Real recovery means realizing that THEIR way of doing things simply doesn’t work. Listening to “self” has made a total mess of things. To move forward, they must consciously decide to turn their  life and will over to something outside of and greater than themselves.

Read those words again – they are consciously deciding .

In a strange and wonderful way, by  relinquishing control, they are actually  regaining a degree of control over the direction their life takes. When they commit to a positive course of action – recovery –they are turning away from the chaos and dysfunction of active addiction and moving toward the stability and serenity of healthy recovery.

Surrender: Turning It Over

"Turning it over", “surrendering”, and “letting it go” all refer to the same thing. The addict admits that they need outside help to regain their sobriety. Surrendering gives the person freedom from worrying about things they can’t control. Instead, they can productively focus their time, attention, and energy upon those things they CAN control—their thoughts and behaviors.

Now, they must make a conscious decision to ALLOW that help to happen. Specifically, they have to let guidance, inspiration, direction, and strength come from without, rather than within.

Most call this a “Higher Power”. It can be anything upon which they can place their trust and from which they can find strength.

  • Their religion
  • Their personal concept of God
  • Medical science
  • Love for their family
  • Humanity

The spiritual aspect of recovery doesn't require—or prohibit—belief in  any specific religion. In fact, the spirituality of recovery works just as well for agnostics and atheists.  Anything that a newly-sober addict can use for encouragement, inspiration, and strength will suffice.

This decision means that the person chooses to believe that their Higher Power – will sustain them. And as long as they keep working hard at their sobriety, they will always be EXACTLY where they are meant to be.

Remember to have faith in the recovery process and patience with yourself. Breaking free from the bondage of self is an acquired skill. It’s contrary to “your way” of doing things. So there will be times when you catch yourself acting against your own best interests. If you can learn to recognize those times, you can step back, calm down, take a deep breath, and then… LET IT GO.

Since 1978, Chapman House Treatment Centers has been one of the most-trusted drug and alcohol rehab programs in Orange County. With an evidence-based treatment strategy that addresses both your addiction and your mental health, Chapman House is your go-to recovery resource.

Click HERE to get help NOW.

Prescription Drug Take Back Sites in Orange County

This October 27 marks the 16th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Orange County law enforcement agencies will be accepting unused prescription medications for safe disposal. No questions. No hassles.

There are currently 29 collection sites in Orange County:


(Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

Anaheim Indepencia Community Center

10841 Garza Avenue


(Anaheim Police Department)

Kaiser Permanente Medical Center

Kraemer Medical Office Building 1

3460 East La Palma Avenue


(Brea Police Department)

Brea Police Department—Front Driveway

1 Civic Center Circle

Buena Park

(Buena Park Police Department)

Buena Park Police Department—Lobby

6640 Beach Boulevard

Buena Park

(Buena Park Police Department)

Buena Park Senior Center

8150 Knott Avenue

Costa Mesa

(Costa Mesa Police Department)

Costa Mesa Police Department

99 Fair Drive


(Cypress Police Department)

Cypress Police Department

5275 Orange Avenue


(Fullerton Police Department)

Fullerton Police Department—Drive-through on Highland Avenue

237 West Commonwealth Avenue

Garden Grove

(Garden Grove Police Department)

Garden Grove Police Department—Lobby

11301 Acacia Parkway


(Huntington Beach Police Department)

Huntington Beach Police Department—Front Lobby


(Irvine Police Department)

Hoag Health Center

16405 Sand Canyon Avenue


(Irvine Police Department)

Kaiser Permanente—Front Parking Lot

6650 Alton Parkway

Irvine Valley College

(Irvine Valley College Police Department)

Irvine Valley Police Department—Parking Lot 5

CDC 100, 5500 Irvine Center Drive

Laguna Woods

(Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

City Hall

24264 El Toro Road

La Habra

(La Habra Police Department)

La Habra Police Department—Front Lobby

150 North Euclid Street

Lake Forest

(Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

City Hall

25550 Commerce Center Drive

Los Alamitos

(Los Alamitos Police Department)

Sharon Christa McAuliffe Middle School

4112 Cerritos Avenue

Mission Viejo

(Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

City Hall

200 Civic Center

Newport Beach

(Newport Beach Police Department)

Oasis Senior Center—Overflow Lot

5th Avenue and Marguerite Avenue

Newport Beach

(Newport Beach Police Department)

Hoag Hospital—Lower Campus Parking Lot

1 Hoag Drive


(Orange Police Department)

City Hall—Parking Lot

360 East Chapman Avenue

Rancho Santa Margarita

(Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

City Hall

22112 El Paseo


(Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

Rush Park

3021 Blume Drive

San Juan Capistrano

(Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

City Hall

32400 Paseo Adelanto

Santa Ana

(Santa Ana Police Department)

Westend Office—Lobby

3750 West McFadden Avenue

Seal Beach

(Seal Beach Police Department)

Leisure World

13533 Seal Beach Boulevard


(Tustin Police Department)

Community Center

300 Centennial Way

U.C. Irvine

(U.C. Irvine Police Department)

U.C. Irvine Police Department—Parking Lot

410 East Peltason Drive

Yorba Linda

(Orange County Sheriff’s Department)

Yorba Linda Police Services

20994 Yorba Linda Boulevard

If you don’t see a collection sight in your area, check back here, because new locations are constantly being added.

As the leading drug rehab in Orange County, Chapman House Treatment Centers fully supports any community efforts aimed at curbing the ongoing crisis of drug abuse, addiction, overdose, and death. If you or someone you care about are struggling with illicit drugs, prescription medications, or alcohol, contact Chapman House TODAY to get the help and support you need.