Sunrise Detox

New Years Thoughts

As many of us do around the New Years holiday, I’ve been thinking this week about the past year and its milestones.  There have been a lot of highs: birth of a new grandson; our granddaughter’s first performance en pointe in The Nutcracker a couple of weeks ago; a wonderful Christmas; good health, mostly; a new smartphone; promotions for both Michele and me; a 23rd year clean and sober for the two of us; a good — possibly great — new quarterback for the Dolphins; my 50th high school reunion; a new Sunrise facility in Ft. Lauderdale; another birthday (not all that great, but it beats the alternative by a mile), and stuff like that.

The lows were few, really.  The death of my friend and coworker Gary was probably the biggest one for me personally.  There have been so many on the national and international scene that I won’t even try to number them.  It is what it is.  Life goes on.

One of the biggest things for me, though, is the satisfaction I’ve gotten from writing for this blog and my own websites.  I spent a big part of my life trying to do important things, with greater or lesser success depending on how you measure that.  Looking back, though, no personal accomplishment begins to compare with the feeling I get from writing about recovery, answering questions for newcomers, and generally knowing that I’m contributing to the good of the recovering community.

I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging.  Far from it.  I’m always amazed that people appreciate what I do, and that I’m able to do it.  I can’t take credit for the abilities and tools I have at my disposal, nor for the fact that other folks are happy to provide me with the information I need to do these things.  About the only thing I can take credit for myself is the willingness to learn and pass on what I’ve picked up along the way, and you folks reward me for that by reading the stuff I write and telling me that it has helped.  Yeah, I get paid for some of it, but (don’t tell the boss) I’d do it anyway.  You can do it too.  Just go to a meeting and talk to someone.  That's how it works.  It feels good, and it helps you stay sober.

This is going to be a good year.  I can feel it coming on.

Happy New Year!

Detox Doesn’t Have To Be Miserable

Many people are afraid to try detox because they have attempted it “cold turkey” in the past, and do not want to repeat the experience. We don’t blame them!  Unassisted detox, especially from opioid drugs, is not something that anyone would want to try again if they had a choice.

Fortunately, there is a choice. Sunrise uses Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) with a rapid taper to avoid the misery of detox from Oxycontin, hydrocodone, heroin and other opioid drugs. Suboxone treatment replaces the other drug and prevents acute withdrawal. After a few days, the Suboxone is withdrawn, with minimal effects that are easily managed by supportive treatment. This permits a far more comfortable detox than other methods. Patients remain ambulatory, and are able to participate in educational and therapeutic sessions to help prepare them for long-term recovery.

Give us a call at 1-888-443-3869. You are only a few days away from a new freedom that will allow you to pursue further recovery with maximum comfort. Thousands have already done it. So can you!

Happy Thanksgiving To Our Alumni And Staff!

Sunrise Detox is about people, so we'd like to mention a few that we're thankful for this holiday season.

We're thankful for our dedicated people at Sunrise Detox in Lake Worth and New Jersey.  We're thankful for the professionals who worked to get Sunrise Detox Ft. Lauderdale up and running, and who helped us successfully pass our Joint Commission inspection last week.  We're thankful for our marketers and the folks who are busy preparing for our planned facilities elsewhere, especially the leaders who work so hard to help Sunrise grow and maintain its professional standards.  We're thankful for our housekeepers, maintenance, techs, nursing staff, therapists and office support personnel.  Sunrise wouldn't exist without you.

And  we're thankful for our clients.  You are not only our reason for being, you are the measure of our success.  We operate an unusual business, measured by the customers who don't return.  Each of you who walks out our doors carries our heartfelt wish that you succeed.  Some of you go on to treatment and the 12-step rooms, and others choose different paths.  Our hopes go with you all.  We're thankful, too, for those who do return to us — thankful that you made it back, that the disease of addiction was cheated one more time, and that you'll have another chance.

So this holiday season, and especially on Thanksgiving, we have a lot to be grateful for.  If we did a gratitude list, it would be far too long, so we simply say to all of you…


Happy Mother’s Day From Sunrise!

We have an exciting week coming up at Sunrise Detox.  On Tuesday and Wednesday we have the Open House at our Ft. Lauderdale facility.  It’s located in northeast Ft. Lauderdale, near Federal Highway, convenient to Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and about 30 minutes from the Miami airport.  This new location will allow us to serve facilities in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties more efficiently, and the additional beds in our system will substantially increase the number of folks we’re able to help.

During the same period, we’re having a site visit from the Joint Commission (formerly JCAHO) at Lake Worth.  The Commission is the accrediting body for medical facilities, and we  expect re-accreditation this year with no problems.  Nonetheless, site visits are a busy time for staff, especially given the simultaneous Open House. Everyone will be relieved when the excitement is over and we can get back into our routine of helping our clients without distractions.

And, of course, tomorrow is Mother’s Day. If you're a Mom, congratulations, and we hope you have a wonderful day! 

Whether our moms were our staunchest support, or maybe not so much, they’re the reason we’re here.  If we’re in recovery — or trying to get there — we must be OK with that.  Let's be thankful for her, regardless of what our relationships were like.  She did the best she could, the same as we are — one day at a time.

Why Can’t I Drink Or Smoke A Little Weed? I Was A Pill Addict!

Professionals refer to “addiction,” or “addictive disease,” rather than to heroin addiction, cocaine addiction, etc. The fact of the matter, little understood by the world at large, is that we don’t become addicted to drugs, but to the effects that they have on our brains — specifically on the pleasure center. The pleasure center is located in the sub-cortical region of the brain which means, among other things, that we can't control it directly.  (That's why “Just Say No” is a cruel joke.)

US Dept. of Transportation (

Drugs short-circuit the process by either stimulating the production of these neurotransmitters, or by mimicking their actions.  Drugs allow us to control the production of the good feelings. Since we are pre-programmed to seek those feelings, we tend to do it quite a lot. Over time, actual physical changes take place in our brains in order to accommodate the unnatural levels of chemicals.

This occurs in several ways, but we’ll simplify it by saying that our neurons grow additional receptor sites to deal with the surplus. This means, in turn, that we need more of the drug’s effects to reach the levels that give us pleasure. This tolerance is one of the first signs of developing addiction. Eventually we reach a point where we need the stimulation in order to function anything like normally, and we’re hooked for sure.

When we go “cold turkey,” the sudden absence of chemicals causes the syndromes that we call acute withdrawal. The length of the acute phase lasts anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the drug. Simple drugs, like alcohol, have the shortest acute phases, while those that metabolize into other active compounds can take much longer. Methadone is an excellent example.  It has not only a longer but more severe acute withdrawal than other opiates. The symptoms of withdrawal, generally speaking, are the reverse of whatever effects the drugs had. Opioids, for example, calm us and slow the action of our digestive tract, and the withdrawal symptoms are the jitters, nausea, diarrhea and the creepy-crawlies, among others.

Those extra receptor sites slowly become dormant and stop pestering us for stimulation, but the main thing to remember is that while the body and brain recover from the changes, the changes do not necessarily go away, and if they do, it is usually over a period of years.

If we use drugs or alcohol in early recovery, we will interfere with the progression to normalcy. Any extra stimulation, whether by the drug of choice or another, can have this effect; we don’t have to get drunk or high. The neurotransmitters involved are the same combination, and using any mood-altering drug can lead back to an active addiction.  At the very least, it will prolong the recovery process.

Even after our brains are back as close to normal as they're going to get, exposure to drugs can reactivate those dormant receptor sites, and start the cravings all over again.  This is true of marijuana and booze, as well as other drugs, since they all work by stimulating the reward center.  In addition, drugs tend to make us more likely to do stupid things, like use more drugs. 

So we can obviously drink or use cannabis if we wish.  As addicts are so fond of pointing out, “It's my life!”*  However, if we do so even in small amounts, we are likely to end up deep in addiction again.

*How bogus is that?  Like we have no effect on anyone but ourselves.  Addict thinking.

Sunrise Ft. Lauderdale Opening Soon

These are drawings of our new Gold Coast facility, currently in the last phase of construction.

We will be opening in late Spring at 2331 N.E. 53rd Street, Ft. Lauderdale.  (954-491-9700).


Medical Schools To Offer Residencies In Addiction Medicine

An article published July 10th in the New York Times heralds a much-needed addition to addiction treatment, aimed at making it a recognized specialty like surgery, endocrinology, obstetrics, etc.

In a move that recognizes addiction as a disease, rather than simply a psychological or moral problem, the program will provide a one-year residency in addiction medicine for doctors who have complete their basic training and are aiming for a specialty. They will spend their residency studying addiction and its connection with heredity, brain chemistry, and psychological issues while treating a broad variety of addictions ranging from alcohol and prescription drugs to nicotine.

According to Nora D. Volkow, of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the prior lack of this kind of education for doctors was “a gap in our training program…a very serious problem.”

The American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM), formed in 2007 to address the issues surrounding medical training in addiction, expects to accredit 10 to 15 additional institutions this year.  Those currently accredited are:

Boston University Medical Center
University of Florida College of Medicine
St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York
New York University at Buffalo School of Medicine
University of Maryland Medical System
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
University of Minnesota Medical School
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Marworth Alcohol and Chemical Dependency Treatment Center in Waverly, PA
and the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii

Kudos to these institutions, ABAM, and the people in the medical and other professions who worked long and hard to accomplish this great stride forward in the understanding and treatment of addiction.