Sunrise Detox Blog

Clients’ Questions About Recovery

From time to time we post a few of our clients’ more interesting questions about recovery.

Why do I have to continue this detox?  I am ready to go home.

We are glad that you are feeling better, but that is because you are on powerful medication.  You need further monitoring, until you are off the meds and able to manage without them.

As far as going home is concerned, it is our hope that you will decide to go to treatment instead.  It has been our experience that clients who go back to the old people, places and things don’t do well unless they have a firm foundation of knowledge, some recovery, and are able to take full advantage of available supports. Familiar situations and faces can set off powerful cravings in people who are unprepared.

How do I deal with my baby and wife leaving me because of my addiction?

As we gain sobriety and work on a program of recovery, we learn to deal with problems like this one, and many others as well.

There are only two possible ways of handling this matter.  Either you go back out and use again, continuing the old ways of solving problems that didn’t work so well, or you get clean and sober.

Option number one will certainly be easier, but will accomplish nothing except your eventual death.  It certainly will not help you regain your family and self respect, and will simply add more pain to everyone’s lives.

On the other hand, if you get humble, follow suggestions, and do the things that you need to do for yourself, you have a chance at sobriety.  If you are able to remain sober, you will at some point at least be able to have a relationship with your child, and might actually be able to get the family back together.  Seems to us that the choice is pretty clear.

I would like to know how I get a sponsor.

We find sponsors by going to a lot of meetings, listening carefully to a lot of people, and finding out who is happy, productive, and working a good program of recovery.  Some folks choose “cool” sponsors.  The smart ones look beyond the surface and try to figure out if that person has what it takes to weather the long haul, and whether they can pass it on to others.

Our blogger Bill W. has two full posts devoted to choosing a sponsor, here and here.

How long should you be clean before you can actually go around social events with alcohol?

It seems to us that the issue isn’t so much how long as it is how well prepared we are.  We need to have enough sobriety that thoughts of drinking have pretty much disappeared, along with the nostalgia when we see a beer commercial or drive past a bar.  Beyond that, we need to consider the situation: will it be a gathering when we would have participated heartily and gotten blasted — perhaps a family party or shooting pool with our old buddies — or will it be a situation with less powerful triggers.

Finally, we need to be prepared, and we need to take someone sober with us.  Again, Bill W. has a post here that covers the matter.  Check out his archives for more answers to questions about recovery.

Have a great weekend!

Do social networking sites turn teens into substance abusers?

(CBS) Is social networking turning America's youth into substance abusers?

Teens who use Facebook and other social networking sites on a daily basis are three times as likely to drink alcohol, twice as likely to use marijuana, and five times more likely to smoke tobacco than teens who don't frequent the sites.

“The findings in this year's survey should strike Facebook fear into the hearts of parents of young children and drive home the need for parents to give their children the will and skill to keep their heads above the water of the corrupting cultural currents their children must navigate,” study author Joseph A. Califano, Jr., founder and chairman of Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance abuse, said in a written statement.

Seventy percent of teens spend time on these sites every day, according to the survey. That's 17 million 12- to 17- year-olds….

Read the rest here.

Sorry, I don't buy it.  I have no doubt that the statistics are accurate; it's simply that I don't agree with the interpretation.

What do we know about kids who don't use drugs, as opposed to those who do?


  1. They tend to be active in all sorts of ways, from athletics to social organizations.
  2. They tend to be better students, which implies that they spend more time on schoolwork, both in the form of homework and other outside means of education such as research for book reports, projects, and general outside reading.
  3. They tend to come from stable families.
  4. In short, they tend to have lives that are fulfilling, and I believe that leads them to spend less time on social sites.

I'm no expert on population studies, nor a sociologist, but I can see when it looks like people are taking an easy shot, rather than doing a little critical thinking about other reasons for statistics, which are only numbers, with no inherent meaning.  The meanings are ascribed by the interpreters, and they are, in turn, informed by their ideas, prejudices, and agendas.

It may be true that exposure to these influences moves a small percentage of teenage social site participants in the direction of excess — it probably is.  But we're talking about 70% of teens, here.  According to another study, by age 18 more than 70% of teens have tried alcohol at least once.¹  Furthermore, simply stating that some of them are x number of times “as likely” to use alcohol, marijuana or other drugs fails to take into account how many times they used them, how long they used them, whether it became a problem, and a number of other factors.

I have no problem with studies and their use in determining priorities for fund allocation, areas of concentration, and so forth.  I do have a problem with interpretations that are not put into context with other pertinent data, or skewed to make a point.  Ascribing a cause and effect relationship to these figures is like explaining addiction as being the result of “bad blood.”

This, in turn, is only my opinion, but it's based on a intimate knowledge of addicts and addiction.  I wonder if that's true of those who simply study us.

¹Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2008).Underage Alcohol Use: Findings from the 2002-2006 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health.