Tanpa, as it was originally called, was named by Native Americans in 1521, and translates to “sticks of fire.” It was a fishing village when explorers erroneously called it Tampa on early maps. The name stuck. Tampa, Florida is now a tourist paradise. It is home to resorts, golf courses, and the African-themed amusement park: Busch Gardens.
Though Tampa, and much of Florida, is a vacationers’ paradise, the citizens of Florida struggle with alcohol and drug abuse. It is especially a problem among the youth of Florida. A Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey (FYSAS) was conducted with over 65,000 participants all across Florida in 2014, their ages ranging from grades 6-12.
The study found that alcohol is the most common drug used among this test sample of Florida students. 42.6% admitted lifetime use and 20.5% reported use within the past 30 days. Almost one in ten (9.5%) high schoolers admitted binge drinking on one or more occasions within the last two weeks. (Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks in a row.) 24.2% of high schoolers admitted to drinking five+ drinks a day, on the days when they consumed alcohol. 18.9% of students in the same age group reported blacking out after drinking on one or more occasions. The second most drug abused by students (after alcohol) is marijuana, with students reporting use at rates of 22.6% in their lifetime, and 12.4% within the last 30 days. Florida considers cigarettes a drug, and 17.6% of these students reported smoking cigarettes in their lifetime, and 4.9% in the last 30 days.
Substance abuse addiction is a disease than can affect anyone. The warning signs of addiction aren’t always obvious, which makes it more difficult for an abuser to know they have an addiction. The primary warning signs for addiction include needing more of a substance to reach the desired high, and the other main warning sign is that if an addict stops using they will feel sick without the substance.
The increased amount of drug and alcohol addiction has given rise to a vast array of treatment centers across the country. Most of the finer treatment facilities offer the following treatments: detox, rehab, inpatient & outpatient care, aftercare, group meetings and 12 steps programs.
Detoxification (or detox) facilities are the first step on the path to recovery for most addicts. Detoxification often happens in a 24-hour, medically managed treatment facility that rids the abuser’s system of all the toxins from drugs and alcohol in order to clear their mind and body, preparing it for the therapeutic stage of treatment. . The detox process also analyzes the client’s situation—their addiction, their psychology and other health issues to craft a customized treatment plan that will be a blue print for the rest of their rehab.
Rehab offers a variety of treatment therapies all designed to do the same thing:provide addicts with the tools that will empower them to overcome their addiction. It is possible to conquer addiction, but it’s a day-by-day process for recovering addicts. Every day is a battle and every day they remain sober is a victory.
Of all current treatment models, the most effective is inpatient care. In inpatient facilities, the patient receives 24-hour supervised care, and access to medical and therapists. Outpatient treatment facilities are available for substance abusers who aren’t able to enroll in an inpatient facility.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also an effective means of treatment. It focuses on making the recovering addict aware of the causes and effects of their addiction on themselves, and on the people around them.
Group therapy involves recovering addicts meeting with therapists and other addicts in a group setting. This facilitates more openness and sharing for some addicts, which then leads to more accountability and healing.
Family therapy is treatment for recovering addicts who would like to repair damage to family relationships. In this therapy, they learn communication skills and other coping mechanisms that help them function better within their family.
Many treatment centers also offer alternative therapies that are cathartic for substance abusers. Some of these include music, equine (involving horses) and yoga therapies.
When a substance abuser quits using, they suffer the painful symptoms of withdrawal. The purging of toxins that occurs in detox initiates the natural byproduct of withdrawal. Symptoms range from cravings and desires to making the person feel sick, and in extreme cases causing seizures. Sometimes the symptoms are fatal. This is why it is recommended that substance abusers first enter a detox treatment center where they will receive medications to cope with severe withdrawal and are always under medical supervision.
Many recovering addicts prefer traveling for their treatment. One of the benefits is that it takes them away from all the things that contribute to their use—environments, people, and other things that tempt them to use. Anonymity is another benefit of traveling to a treatment center. A substance abuser is less likely to see a
friend, associate or coworker, who may not know they are undergoing therapy for their addiction. The actual drive or flight to the treatment center might prove cathartic to a substance abuser, Much like we all need to get away and take a road trip once in a while. The drive there and back gives the substance abuser the opportunity to reflect on their disease and therapy goals.
Friends and family members of substance abusers can feel powerless in helping their loved one kick the habit. They themselves are likely victims of their loved one’s substance abuse. If you find yourself in this situation, you don’t have to feel powerless anymore. You can stage an intervention to help your friend or family member get the help they need. An intervention brings together family and friends in an effort to reveal the abuse in your loved one’s life, and to help them find treatment. Interventions are based on compassion, love and care and should be non-judgmental.
It’s always best to hire a professional interventionist, but if one isn’t available to you, a friend or family member can fulfill that role. It’s also important to invite people who are influential to the substance abuser.
People whose words will have the most impact in compelling the substance abuser to enter treatment. Choosing the best location for the intervention is also vital to its success. The substance abuser’s home may have too many painful memories, so it is recommended to find an office or conference room for the intervention. Rehearsal for the intervention is also advised to ensure all the participants are clear on their messaging. That way, a plan for a smooth intervention can be set in place. Some people may have concerns over backlash from the substance abuser when they learn of the intervention. The way to avoid any conflict is to assure them that the intervention is with the people closest to them who love them and care about their welfare. Many successful recovering addicts attribute an intervention as the most important factor in their success.
Recovering from addiction is a journey, and for many substance abusers, the most difficult part can be the first step—asking for help. We’re here to help you with that process. It takes humility and courage to ask someone for help. The help is well worth it though, so take heart. Every successful addiction recovery story involves relapses and failing many times first.
The journey to recovery isn’t easy. It’s long and treacherous and will last for the rest of your life, but it’s well worth the fight. Every day, recovering addicts are completing their rehab, earning chips, becoming sponsors and helping others succeed in their recovery. It’s happening all over the country. A visit to a group meeting will reveal that many addicts are beating their addiction.
Many treatment centers offer access to these group meetings as well as participation in the 12-steps. Group meetings include Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous and others.
In addition to a recovering addict’s sponsor, they can also find support from mentors who work at the treatment facilities, who are also recovering addicts. This mentorship is invaluable to the recovering addict, reflecting the axiom that if you’re in a maze and trying to find the way out, the easiest path is with someone who knows the way out.
If you are in the Tampa, Florida and you are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, give us a call. Our trained specialists are here to help answer all your questions on how to find rehab, as well as other questions relating to rehab, detox, and intervention. Begin your path to healing and give us a call today! (813) 252-0033