The Benefits of Going to An Out of State Drug Rehab for Treatment

Attending a substance abuse treatment center close to home may sound like a smart, convenient choice. However, consider an out of state drug rehab before making a final decision. Explore all of your options and weigh the pros and cons of treatment at home versus rehab out of state.

Closer Isn’t Always Better for Substance Abuse Treatment

The best addiction treatment center may not be located in your neighborhood or city. Even if your local rehab offers high-quality treatment, it isn’t best for you if it doesn’t provide the care you need. For instance, if you’re struggling with a dependence on opiates or meth, a treatment center specializing in alcohol abuse won’t be the best solution. Or if you prefer a gender-specific program and the treatment center in your town offers co-ed treatment, it isn’t a good fit. Look at out of state drug rehabs in order to expand your treatment options. 

You’re Likely to Stay May Stay in Treatment Longer at an Out of State Rehab Center

Substance abuse treatment is challenging, and if you’re close to home, you may be tempted to drop out when things get rough, especially during the early days. Leaving on the spur of the moment is much harder when you’re attending an out of state rehab center. You can’t easily give into impulses; like hopping on a bus, or calling a friend for a ride. Things get smoother if you can hang in there through the rough patches. 

The longer you’re able to stay in treatment, the higher the chances of long-term recovery. According to NIDA (the National Institute of Drug Abuse), treatment of less than three months is of limited effectiveness, while longer time in treatment is recommended for a more positive outcome. NIDA also notes that most people who remain in treatment for an extended period are able to stop using drugs, improve their mental health, and move forward with life.

Out of State Rehabs May Offer Better Treatment Programs & Specialties

Treatment programs and specialties offered by out of state drug rehab centers vary substantially, so don’t limit yourself to only looking at what’s nearby You may prefer a rehab that focuses on a particular religion or one that centers treatment around a 12-Step program. Alternatively, you may be looking for a non-religious treatment center or one that offers 12-Step alternatives. You may benefit from a treatment facility that caters to business executives, adolescents, seniors, or LGBT individuals. 

If you have depression, bipolar disorder, or another mental health issue in addition to substance abuse problems, it’s essential to find an addiction treatment center where the staff is trained and experienced in dual diagnosis disorders. Treating two disorders at the same time is complex, and not all treatment centers provide the necessary mental health services on-site . 

In short, you may be more likely to get the care you need if you’re willing to travel.

Other Benefits of Seeking Addiction Treatment Out of State

Aside from increasing your chance of finishing treatment and expanding your program options, there are a few other benefits to exploring out of state rehabs.

Out Of State Rehabs May Have Shorter Wait Times for Admission

The decision to enter treatment is enormous and life-changing, and it’s best to get started as soon as possible. Even if you’re lucky enough to find the perfect treatment center close to home, it won’t do you much good if the waiting list is long. You’re much more likely to find a place with an opening if you look into out of state drug rehabs. 

It Puts Distance Between You and Distractions

Friends and family are wonderful, and they can be essential for your recovery. On the other hand, the people you love can also distract you from focusing entirely on treatment, especially if things aren’t going well on the home front. The distance of an out of state rehab allows you to direct your attention to recovery without stressing about constant anger, tension, and resentment at home. 

Sometimes, your loved ones mean well, but they may not understand how they’re enabling your addiction or neglecting your needs and personal boundaries. Recovery is especially difficult if somebody at home is still using drugs or alcohol. 

Although you may want to include your family in your substance abuse treatment plan, it may be beneficial to wait and begin family counseling after you return home. You may be hesitant to spend so much time away, but sometimes, a little time apart can help everybody see more clearly. This is something only you can decide. 

Traveling to an Out of State Addiction Center May Save You Money

If you live in a city with a high cost of living, addiction treatment is probably going to be substantially more expensive than in other areas of the country. Even after you factor in travel expenses, you may actually save money by traveling to an out of state drug rehab.

In some cities, most substance abuse treatment centers are resort-like facilities that cater to people with healthy bank accounts. A high-end treatment center is great if you can afford it, and it’s nice to have perks like a private room, daily massages, or a professional chef. A hefty price tag may buy many perks, but it doesn’t necessarily equate to better treatment. 

Change is Good for the Soul

Traveling to a rehab out of state removes you from old friends, familiar neighborhoods, and favorite hang-outs that might tempt you, especially in the early days of recovery. At an out-of-state drug rehab in a new environment, you’ll meet different people and new friends that share your desire to get well. You may find it’s easier to discuss your experiences and feelings with people with similar experiences, or who don’t know anything about the difficulties in your past. 

If you’re entering treatment in the dead of winter, a warmer climate might be a very welcome change. If you live where summer heat is punishing, consider an escape to a treatment center in the refreshing coolness of the mountains. Addiction treatment offers an opportunity for a fresh start at recovery, and traveling may give you a whole new outlook.

Privacy Matters

There’s no reason to be ashamed if you have a problem with substance abuse; addiction is a chronic disease that can happen to anybody. You may feel okay about sharing your plans to enter addiction treatment, or you may prefer to keep it private, especially if there’s a possibility your job or reputation may be threatened if word gets out. 

Telling your friends or coworkers is totally up to you. The big problem, however, is that at local substance abuse centers it’s common to run into people you know, even in large urban areas. Traveling to an out of state drug rehab makes it much easier to protect your privacy and focus on recovery.

Get A Fresh Start at First Step Behavioral Health in Florida 

Traveling to an out of state drug rehab might be one of the best things you’ll ever do for yourself. Located in beautiful Pompano Beach, South Florida, our substance abuse and dual diagnosis specialists can help you explore your addiction treatment options. Give us a call today at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information

More Support For Holistic Treatment

Specialists in addiction treatment, from alcohol rehabs in Pompano to leading academic researchers, know that holistic treatment is the best approach to help a person cope with substance use disorder. The best substance abuse treatment Florida offers know that oftentimes addiction comes hand in hand with untreated mental health issues and can also be influenced by environment and even genetics. Recently, researchers discovered there’s about a twenty five percent overlap of people with chronic addictions and people with undiagnosed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Finding more links like these strengthens the case to make addiction treatment required to address mental health for a full holistic and, more importantly, effective treatment for patients who put their faith in their south Florida rehab centers.

In Ohio, Lorain County is attempting to make inroads not only in the public understanding the inherent complexities of addiction, but also ensure that the more effective approach to treatment and therapy is the one that is most deployed. Every other county in the state has merged their boards for mental health and alcohol and drug addiction services due to the evidence that they are often related and now Lorain County is to complete their merger soon.

“Let’s change the daily conversation of one group only talking about mental health while another group only talks about addiction. Let’s make the daily mission about working together by sharing knowledge and resources to better serve our community,” said Commissioner Matt Lundy.

The public and, indeed, even medical professionals, especially physicians, still hold very outdated views about addiction, which often include moral judgement and championing the idea of ‘choice’ as both the indictment of and solution to addiction. Judgement itself often leads to people suffering from substance use disorders to not seek treatment. Even mental health itself, separate away from addiction, is also stigmatized to a degree, as well. Whether the macho manliness of not wanting to share emotions or cry in front of others, or the idea that other people will think a person is crazy for being diagnosed with rather common mental illness issues that don’t really make that person psychotic or crazy, mental health is also looked at some crooked scheme for people to take advantage of one another or worse.

With Ohio’s symbolic merger of these two fields into a singular field, it means that the conversation is indeed going forward and people are discovering that there’s more to substance abuse than things like choice or even the substance itself in many cases, that mental health issues like depression, anxiety, trauma, and other conditions like ADHD and post traumatic stress disorder can fuel addiction as well as provide a risk for trying controlled substances.  

The opioid crisis has proven that addiction can happen to anyone for any reason and that it’s a serious issue that requires professional treatment and holistic approach because it’s not something that can simply be given a magic cure-all pill.  Maybe one day, but for now, this is the best approach and hopefully more states and counties countrywide will follow the suit of Ohio if they have not already.

Addiction is a serious chronic illness that requires professional treatment from counselors that specialize in substance use disorder. Call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 if you or someone you know might be struggling with addiction.

Environment and Relapse

For people going through a south Florida drug rehab, they will no doubt hear at some point that two thirds of people who successfully finish treatment will relapse within the first year and may even find those numbers discouraging. However, centers that offer substance abuse treatment in Florida are also aware of this statistic and understand that gaining control over a substance use disorder is not always an easy task, nor is it a quick task. It’s not a one-size-fits-all process when treating patients seeking help and it’s important to not see relapse as a complete failure of treatment, but a sign that more must be done.

Relapses are often triggered by environmental factors. These can be everything from social surroundings to physical surroundings to a mixture of both. They can also come from unlikely places, even as bizarre as seeing a television commercial at a certain time of day. It really depends on the person how these environmental factors play out, which makes it difficult to get ‘right’ in treatment on the first try, especially for obscure environmental ‘triggers’.

It’s well known that environment is highly influential in addiction. Multiple studies by multiple universities and research groups using cocaine and mice have proven that learned behavior in association with addiction is a strong link that can create higher levels of risk of relapse if left unchecked. When a person is developing a substance use disorder, memories play a strong role in how that addiction is registered within the neurobiology of the brain, which changes on each use and is also linked with non-chemical addictions that have also become notable recently such as internet and social media addictions. The environment, when combined with memory and reward structures which can vary wildly but often times are associated with substance use, instill an almost ‘Pavlov’s Dog’ response. Pavlov’s dog experiment involved feeding a dog a treat after ringing a bell. Eventually, the treat was removed and when the bell was rung, the dog would salivate, even after a long time from the treat being removed from the situation.

To an addict in recovery, a similar kind of ‘mental salivation’ or ‘itch to use’ can be triggered in this same way, but without any intentional effort by the person themselves or even others around them. It is often why relapses occur in the first place; someone is taken off guard by something that seems completely innocuous. However, it must be understood that this relapse is not necessarily a failure, but a learning moment for the patient in the right frame of mind to recognize the event, even if they succumb to it. Addressing the environmental factors will strengthen their ability to control their substance use disorder over time. While it might feel like a setback, if the patient is still willing to beat their addiction, there’s much to learn from these moments that will ensure future success in their battle.

Addiction is a chronic illness that affects more than two million Americans and most go untreated. If you or someone you know could be suffering from addiction, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 for professional drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale.

Identifying Genetic Addiction Risks

The scientific community is already at a consensus that at least half of a reason that someone develops an addiction requiring substance abuse treatment in Florida is due to genetic makeup. That is not to say that if you have the genes in question leaning toward inflating risk factors means that you will, one day, require the services of south Florida rehab centers, but that coming into contact with addictive substances increases your risk of developing addiction after contact compared to someone who genetically is not predisposed to addiction. Many people think that genetics are used as an excuse for moral failings, but recent science has been uncovering more and more about the mechanics of addiction through neurobiological research and genetic inspection as well as experiments with rats and, for instance, cocaine, a known highly addictive substance.

Recently, the University of Cambridge’s Department of Psychiatry published a study further identifying some of the genetic factors that play a role in addiction, specifically with younger people. As it’s already known, the adult brain isn’t truly fully developed until a person reaches their early twenties. Coming into contact with addictive substances can have a different genetic outcome based on age as well, the study concludes.

According to the study, there is “a strong association between increased behavioral impulsivity in young adults and abnormalities in nerve cells in the putamen, a key brain region involved in addictive disorders.”

Dr. Camilla Nord of MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences unit and lead author of the study, which involve ninety-nine participates aged 16-26, adds “People who show heightened impulsivity are more likely to experience a number of mental health issues, including substance and behavioral addictions, eating disorders and [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder].”

The overall takeaway from their research, which monitored brain activity through a series of tests using brain imaging technology, was that impulsivity is an ‘endophenotype’; a set of behavioral and brain changes that increases people’s general risk for developing a group of psychiatric and neurological disorders, one of them being substance use disorder or addiction. By identifying these functions, which control dopamine release and other behavioral neurobiological chemicals that control behavior in the brain, it may one day be possible to either reverse or the effects of the hijacking of these systems by substance use or at the very least provide something akin to a ‘vaccine’ that reduces the risk of developing addictions (or any of the other related behavioral disorders) prior to coming into contact with the risks themselves.

As the addiction crisis in America continues on, it will be dependant on the findings of research like this to make a massive dent in the numbers of people affected by substance use disorder. It’s estimated that around two million Americans nationwide suffer from some form of substance use disorder with only a fraction even diagnosed and an even smaller number of people actually in treatment. About fifty percent of the population continues to believe addiction is a moral failing or lack of personal judgement or other cultural superstition.

If you or someone you know is suffering from substance use disorder, a call to First Step Behavioral Health can help manage the illness. Call (866) 319-6126 for treatment options such as residential detox.

Fighting Addiction: Worse Than Pulling Teeth

If you are considering entering a Pompano drug rehab program or know someone who could benefit from substance abuse treatment in Florida, you are probably all too aware that it can sometimes feel like pulling teeth to convince them they should seek help. If you’re the one making a decision for yourself, you probably have tons of concerns and fears about how others will look at you and treat you but also the fear of what will happen if you try to go it alone and fail in curbing your substance use. If you’re seeing someone you love go down the road of substance abuse, no doubt you’ve already had a talk or ten about trying to get them to seek treatment for their condition and issues and no matter how much you urge them, they seem to not want to go in.

It’s worse than one of the things that has been found as a contributing factor to increased opioid addiction: pull wisdom teeth.

One of the standardized part of the wisdom tooth pulling process is prescribe painkillers for a couple of days for the patient to use while the effects of the oral surgery heal. For a vast majority of people, non-habit forming ibuprofen works just fine. However, a study revealed that fifteen percent of all opioid-based painkiller prescriptions are coming from dentists whose expertise isn’t in medicines but in, of course, dental hygiene. This includes prescribing them to teenagers, who are just as susceptible to forming an addiction to drugs like Vicodin as Oxycodone as anyone else.

A lot of parents (nor dentists) aren’t even aware that the drugs, which come under many brand names, are potentially habit-forming or even part of the ‘opioid crisis’ they’ve likely heard about. They also have a high likelihood of having internalized false beliefs about the nature of drug addiction being something that only happens to ‘bad people making bad choices’, making this blind spot a easily passable barrier an addiction can find their child.

It’s important to research all drugs your doctor prescribes from the point of view on what’s known about its ability to become addictive. If your family has a history of addiction or trauma, it’s worth being extra cautious and ask for alternatives for medications that could be addictive. As noted earlier, it’s often times more effective to use ibuprofen for wisdom tooth removal aftercare than the go-to painkillers which are often responsible for being a ‘gateway drug’ to illegal substances like heroin and methamphetamine (crystal meth).  What typically happens for severe addictions to prescription pills is that once the access runs out, the only solution becomes heroin and likely the person has already bought illegal prescription pills and can probably find someone with heroin and be taught how to use it. The methamphetamines are often taken with heroin as a ‘pick me up’.

Either way, being an informed consumer will help keep you safe until the multitude of class action lawsuits happening all over the country as a result of these kinds of prescriptions not coming with full disclosure of their dangers.

If you or someone you know has had oxycodone withdrawal symptoms, they may have an addiction and need professional services of specialists like those at First Step Behavioral Health. Call (866) 319-6126 to find out more.

Treatment Advanced

A continually common belief in a good portion of the public, regardless of they’ve gone through substance abuse treatment in Florida or not, is that addiction is not only a moral failing but requires a moral dispositional shift in order to kick the habit. The War On Drugs policy, instituted in 1971 by Richard Nixon, is still ongoing and was built on this viewpoint. It has damaged not only research into addiction, but also dispersing the most up to date information about it and in the process, treating addicts as morally bankrupt criminals instead of what has actually happened which is a change of brain chemistry and introduced a synthetic mental illness it’s resulted in destroying not only the lives of addicts themselves but the families they belonged to.

Not many people who have been in a 12-step program realize that the entire premise is of moral correction. The primary focus of programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is to attempt to not only remove the autonomy of a person’s ability to make good decisions by having them accept that they don’t make good decisions, but that the only way to make good decisions is by submitting to a ‘higher power’. These days, it groups are more or less non-religious and don’t specifically harp on God or Christianity, but many will still use the term G.O.D., a shorthand for ‘Good Order and Discipline’. The overt spirituality, however, remains in nearly all 12-step programs which has been repeatedly found in medical and scientific communities to have very little positive results, especially in the long term.

While it is unfortunate that the opioid epidemic has occurred, one heavily racial element of it is that it has overtaken white communities and kickstarted a resurgence of trying to publicly take a new understanding on how substance abuse disorder actually works beyond the moral angle. While in the 80’s, the prison population, particularly with non-whites, exploded, making America the number one industrialized nation with the highest amounts of incarceration due to the scare of crack, today the opioid and by extension the heroin crisis has shaken an ever increasing portion of America out of it’s stone-aged view on what addiction actually is.

Medical research advancements have progressed to the point where brain imaging can even identify without even asking the patient what kind of drugs they are addicted to. Drugs have been developed for certain kinds of substance addictions that not nullify the effects of use while reducing cravings themselves. Some of these, such as naloxone, can even reverse a certain-death overdose situation. While these methods of imaging and treatment are new and very limited in use, as the public’s perception and research evolves, addictions of all types may be understood to the point where the disease is seen as just a serious ‘nuisance’, like the flu.

South Florida rehab centers like First Step Behavioral Health try to use the most accepted forms of medical and psychological substance abuse treatment available. Call (866) 319-6126 for more info about options like oxycodone treatment.

Mix and Match

When seeking a south Florida drug rehab for addiction it’s important to educate yourself as best as possible about the options available, which can vary widely depending on the substances that are used, the history of the person, their medical history and whether the person has ever been diagnosed for mental health issues such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

It can seem extremely overwhelming for someone who has never looked into either substance abuse treatment in Florida or even the information into what kind of condition addiction is itself. A lot of information is heavily influenced by cultural beliefs rather than research from the medical and scientific communities so it’s important to be able to discern conjecture and speculation informed by cultural bias from modern medicine and psychology.

The important thing to pay attention to is that a good treatment center will ‘mix and match’, so to speak multiple treatments and even diagnosis’ which is typically called ‘holistic approach’ or ‘holistic treatment’. When looking at a person who has an addiction, it’s important that treatment to be tailored to the individual as best as possible. Just as someone who goes to the dentist will have a visit to determine what kind of work, if any, might be called for instead of just removing the same teeth from everyone that walks through the door, treatment requires a variety of assessments that will include psychological and mental health analysis along with physical analysis.

Because there are parts of addiction that aren’t completely understood either from the psychology field and neurobiology field, the holistic approach is considered the most effective as it combines the pieces of both fields that to put together the best ‘picture’ of how the addiction has affected the patient as possible, basically the idea that the sum of the parts makes a more complete whole. Some treatments such as 12 Step only programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) often do not only a single kind of one-size-fits-all approach, but also mix in elements of spirituality and morality into program, which have, statistically, very low success rates. That is not to say they do not work for everyone, but often this approach alone is not as effective as modern holistic approaches which can include medication, psychological counseling which often uncover unaddressed mental health issues such as trauma and depression or even, as earlier noted, uncover conditions like ADHD which have shown to be found in 25% of addicts and often unidentified at time of treatment for the addiction.

There’s a lot to discover, unpack and learn, especially when going into subjects like inheritance of genes that have been identified as possible contributors to addiction susceptibility, the kinds of drugs that are available for some kinds of physical addictions and so many more aspects, but if you keep in mind that the best treatments don’t just use one kind of approach, you’ll at least have a better chance of finding a treatment that works for you.

If you or someone you know is looking for drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale, call First Step Behavioral at (866) 319-6126.

The Vultures Are Circling

Substance abuse treatment in Florida faces many problems with regards to being effective. With the spotlight on addiction shining a white hot light on one of the biggest missteps in American healthcare for the last half century, many snake oil salesmen smell blood in the water and are eagerly trying to get their bite on the millions of dollars ready to be shovelled at anyone who can promise a solution to the condition. It’s gotten so out of control that the FDA themselves had to issue over a dozen warnings and advisory letters to companies and investors wishing to cash in on the crisis facing millions of Americans in the face of the very public opioid crisis.

Unfortunately, there are almost no regulations on the supplement industry, which is the totality of the products that incurred the warnings to begin with, meaning that in an industry that can get away with almost everything in terms of claims and effects on people of untested substances, this was bad enough to still motivate the FDA to step in take action. Outlets such as QVC have hawked multiple products claiming to counteract the addictive properties of drugs like oxycontin while being not much more than overpriced bottle of sugar pills.

One of the main things that supplements are able to exploit are the lack of clinical testing before placing claims to their effects. Over the years, there have been life threatening supplements claiming to be safe for everything from weightloss to reversing yellow toenails, but end up having untested ingredients or even more common a combination of ingredients that act together to have unforeseen side effects.

While all of this is happening, there has also been a surge of interest in funding treatment facilities all from a profit motive. For those reading this who are unaware, the prison system in America is profit motivated which has extended the War on Drugs itself to promote more incarceration through simple drug possession and does very little to actually rehabilitate those put behind bars. It’s not far fetched to think that the treatment centers coming in purely for the ability to make profit will do much to improve a person’s quality of life. A recent report on the investor opportunities around treatment centers was published and even the company who produces oxycontin has been investing money into treatment centers to get people off the drug they themselves sell and seem to have no plans on changing or pulling from the market despite everything that is known about it’s addictive properties and its potential to lead people to full on heroin addiction.

With all of this going on, it’s highly important for everyone who is looking to help people they known or to help themselves to be very critical of what is being offered and understand that no treatment exists that simply involves ‘buying some pill’. Treatment is not just something you do for 10 minutes a day with a glass of water, it requires a much more than that and for good reason.

If you or someone you know is looking for residential detox or drug rehab in Ft. Lauderdale, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126.

Down the Habit Hole

In South Florida rehab centers, habits tend to reveal a lot about the nature of addiction. Many of us have routines, a lot of them daily. Maybe the first thing you do when you wake up is to take a shower. Maybe every day at noon, you enjoy a big bowl of chili. Maybe once a week, you go on a walk through the neighborhood.

These rituals, after a period of time, come to define us in some way. They aren’t who we are, but they provide a cornerstone of what one might consider ‘normality’. People that go to the gym often will say they get agitated if they have to miss a trip to pump iron, runners will make similar comments about the disruption.

As a person’s substance use disorder takes hold and begins changing the brain chemistry, it can introducing craving and desire that override their normal intentions, habits can develop and often times provide the most difficult obstacle to recovery.

When someone develops a pattern of use, it can be just as reliable as a measurement of ‘normal’ as another person’s fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning. It’s never intended to be that, as these habits form over a period of time. Someone doesn’t just decide once that, “Oh, I’m going to snort a line of coke every day at 3pm!” after the first time they do it, just like there was not a day when the person who drinks coffee in the morning decided one day that this was the thing they decided will define the start of their day.

It happens organically, often time without the cognizant recognition of the person as it develops into habit. When the drug enters the body and begins rewiring how dopamine and the prefrontal cortex message each other, it can be nearly undetectable, especially for substances like alcohol. After an extended period of time, the combination of habit along with the chemical aspect of addiction and neurological changes in the user to create artificial cravings for the substance becomes an ever insurmountable obstacle that for nearly everyone who falls victim to it cannot escape from without extreme outside forces or jarring and shocking events. Even then, it’s not guaranteed that it will be enough for a person to begin to unlearn what becomes essentially an internalized and subsconscious behavioral pattern.

The longest and most difficult part of treatment is relapse prevention. Imagine any one of your rituals, daily, monthly or weekly, and think about not doing it. If you normally drink a cup of coffee in the morning, simply stop drinking coffee in the morning. It’s much harder than you realize. Now throw in high levels of addictive changes in the brain, many of which are permanent, and you can begin to see the difficulty of truly staying in control over addiction. It’s not easy, though it does become easier over time, but there’s more than simply ‘not using’ at play when being treated for substance use and habit is one of the most amorphous yet most difficult any person suffering from substance use disorder will have to face.

Substance abuse treatment in Florida uses a holistic treatment method which tackles habits as well as the chemical and neurological parts of addiction including treating withdrawal from Oxycodone. For the best treatment in south Florida, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126.

Rock Bottom To Rock Climbing

Often, people in recovery for substance use disorders in south Florida drug rehab will be given a chance to re-discover a part of themselves they may have forgotten, skills in art or athletics. Sometimes, people undergoing substance abuse treatment in Florida will have an opportunity to learn something about themselves they are good at or enjoy and never knew that thing about themselves. One former heroin addict from Massachusetts discovered her knack and enthusiasm for rock climbing.

Robin Agricola had become addicted to painkillers after a continuous series of medical issues had left her dealing with scoliosis, a broken scapula, arachnoiditis and severe spinal pain that developed after a pregnancy when she was 25. By the time she was 28, even though she was a so-called ‘functioning addict’ and holding down a job, she was shooting up heroin. She refers to her bottom as a ‘high bottom’, since she didn’t end up on the streets or in prison, but the very fact she was injecting heroin was enough for her to realise that she had a problem with addiction to opioid based pain killers, which many people are struggling with today in the US.

With the help of her family, she detoxed in a treatment center for 28 days, sharing time with people who had been in detox multiple times. She knows she is lucky to have been able to break the cycle of addiction that is very difficult for some people to overcome. To help her, she discovered rock climbing.

As a former gymnast, she found a love for heights of accomplishment that come with scaling both real cliffs and indoor walls.

“There are so many people out there struggling with the same thing, and there aren’t a lot of places for hope. I hope people can see my life, with climbing and travel and sobriety, and think ‘Oh, I can get out of this, too. I don’t have to live like this. I can create a better life for myself.’ That’s a pretty powerful message to share when you can share it,” Robin says of her recovery and newfound hobby. She currently gives talks and fitness lessons at a rock climbing gym in Randolph, MA while sharing her story on her personal website, No Excuses Just Crush, while travelling to speak at treatment centers to people currently in recovery for substance use disorders.

“I feel so lucky. Every day, I’m so grateful,” she says of her rise out of the dark valley of addiction. “I feel like the more people who know my story, the more avenues it gives someone who’s struggling. I’ve built this life in sobriety and they can, too.”

Whether it’s rock climbing, pinball, travelling or stamp collecting, finding a new healthy hobby can be important for recovery and can be a positive change in habits and focus that helps keep someone sober after treatment and getting clean.

If you or someone you know is need of a south Florida detox facility, call First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126.