Andrew Warren, ASW, Psychotherapist at Recovery NOW is getting his steps.

Most of us want to increase our physical activity. Some of us are equipped to do super lunges while shoulder pressing a Buick Skylark over our heads but for those of us that prefer less vigorous activity, walking works just fine. Below is a link to an article from the Mayo Clinic that features the benefits of walking as well as some strategies to make those walks more effective.

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Andrew Warren, ASW, Psychotherapist at Recovery NOW would like to help to meet you in the resilient zone

We’ve all been stressed and anxious (high zone), other times we are detached and numb (low zone). The Community Resiliency Model™ refers to the middle area between those highs and lows as the “Resilient Zone.” The “Resilient Zone” is the middle place where we experience calmness but we are able to be alert and attune to the world around us. Below is an image featuring 10 strategies that you could use if you begin to experience the high or low zones and you’d like to get back to the “Resilient Zone.”


Help Now! Activities Poster


Andrew Warren, ASW, Psychotherapist at Recovery NOW practices gratitude…most of the time…okay, sometimes.

We’ve probably all heard a coworker, friend, or family member attribute their new found peace to the practice of gratitude. Maybe at times we are even able to do it ourselves. The article below shares the benefits associated with the principle of gratitude.

Free stock photo of wood, love, art, heart

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Andrew Warren, ASW, Psychotherapist at Recovery NOW has to mindfully practice gratitude.

“Mom and Dad were so much tougher on me.” We’ve heard this before or maybe we even said it. Is it true? Maybe, but probably not. The link below is a Freakonomics Radio podcast featuring psychologists Thomas Gilovich and Shai Davidai. They discuss our general tendency to think that we have it harder than others; our bias to focus on our barriers rather than our advantages. Take a listen.

Why Is My Life So Hard?


Andrew Warren, ASW, Psychotherapist at Recovery NOW understands that we all need to slow down.

Our sympathetic nervous system activates our “fight or flight” response in stressful situations; it can be activated by day-to-day stress. Think of it as putting your foot on the gas. Now, think of our parasympathetic nervous system as the brake. The article linked below provides tips on how we can press the brake, especially if our foot has been on the gas for too long and too often.

Man Wearing Blue Long Sleeve Shirt Lying on Ground during Daytime

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The New Year is always a time of inner reflection and retrospect, when we think about the successes and failures of the year past and look forward to hope for better tomorrows. For the person suffering with substance abuse, January 1st could be much more than the start of a new year; it could be the first day of a new sober life. When it comes to goal-setting, people tend to focus on bettering themselves in body and mind, as well as in the areas of relationships and finances. Eliminating or reducing the use of harmful substances can be a major step toward bettering oneself in all of those areas, as addiction’s effects go far beyond physical consequences.

Why Now?

By the dawn of January 1st, the holidays may have taken their toll. The stress, grievances, and in some cases sadness of the season often compels users to increase their abuse of drugs and alcohol to cope with their emotions. Not to mention, there are countless parties and social gatherings between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve that create an opportunity to imbibe in excess. By the end of the season, reality sets in, forcing the acknowledgment of a stark reality.

Setting Realistic Goals for Recovery

First and foremost should be the realization that recovery is a lifelong journey – not a goal to be attained. Success is found in the progress and the ability to learn from mistakes. Having realistic expectations sets the foundation for healthy growth and accomplishments along the way. Without a pragmatic approach to recovery, it’s easy to redefine setbacks as failures.

At Recovery NOW, we help our clients make positive changes that are beneficial to the individual’s health and relationships. After a month of drinking too much, eating too much, and perhaps experiencing challenging interactions with family and friends, we create a safe place for our clients to explore the thoughts and triggers behind self-destructive behaviors and begin the path toward a clean and sober tomorrow.

Help Getting Sober in 2017

The basis for Recovery NOW is support and encouragement for people with a history of substance abuse, as well as the people in their lives who love them. Recovery NOW is a support center for individuals working to overcome destructive behaviors and mental health disorders, including substance and alcohol abuse. Whether your goal in the New Year is complete sobriety or perhaps just learning how to enjoy alcohol in moderation, our individual and group therapy services can help.
We can also be of assistance to individuals who are concerned about the well-being of a loved one who is exhibiting signs of substance abuse or dependency. In addition to providing intervention services, we have partnered with South Bay Connect Treatment Center to provide intensive outpatient services to individuals struggling with substance abuse and codependency.

Whatever your goals are for the New Year ahead, Recovery NOW is here to support and provide encouragement along the way. Contact us today for more information. A brighter tomorrow starts today. A New Year and a New Start in 2017

New Innovative Treatment Model

South Bay connect Treatment Center is unique, since we have a codependency program that one may participate in even if their family member is not attending our substance abuse treatment program. Often family members will first receive their own treatment before the individual abusing substances receives the necessary help. The whole family system must learn how to not revolve around substance abuse and redefine the family system meaning and purpose.

One of South Bay connect’s 2 Founders, Alicia MacGowan, LCSW, LAADC, CAI, will be facilitating these groups. Alicia has been working with codependency since 1992 in a variety of settings. She has found in her own psychotherapy practice and the Interventions that she has facilitated that long-term change in the substance abuse family system cannot be achieved until everyone involved with the substance abuser receives their own help. As an Interventionist, she has worked with family members to help motivate their loved ones to change. She knows and appreciates the challenges everyone faces when trying to overcome addiction. She and Dr. Tsuang envisioned a treatment model whereby the family and friends of the substance abuser simultaneously are receiving their own treatment. This is a model that they have piloted in their own private practices with exceptional outcomes.

Benefits of the new innovative treatment model, “Family Addiction Model for Treatment”:

Treatment Outcomes – When the entire family is involved in substance abuse, treatment helps increase engagement rate for entry into treatment, reduced dropout rates, and better outcomes and prevents relapse for the individual abusing substances.
Family Recovery – Involvement of families broadens the focus to other family issues, not merely the substance abuse. Both the substance abuser and the family obtain the necessary help from an addiction specialist and maintain abstinence.
Patient Recovery – After visiting a treatment center, family members who are willing and actively support the affected member to recover enhance the possibility of a successful, durable recovery. The patient recovers from codependency behaviors including uncontrollable emotional reactions, fear of rejection, inability to build loving relationships, and more. The substance abuser learns the necessary day-to-day skills to manage daily stressors without the use of alcohol and drugs.
Intergenerational Impact – The new innovative treatment model can help minimize the effect and recurrence of drug use disorders in various generations.

This model treats several problems of codependency and substance abuse to produce better results. Finally, this model accommodates the each family’s unique needs and seeks to understand the core issues for everyone in the family in order to promote recovery, hope and change.

If a loved one is suffering from substance abuse and refusing to get help. You can join our codependency program at South Bay connect Treatment Center to help you restore your life.

The glass cold drink on the bar counter.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and a time to reflect on drinking habits and how they may affect individual and public health. Although legal and not considered a drug by many people, alcohol is the most abused substance in America. It is a major public health problem, as approximately 1 in 12 adults suffer with alcohol dependence. However, the other 91 percent of adults are not out of dodge. In fact, far more people engage in risky drinking behaviors, such as binge drinking, which can lead to serious long term consequences, including dependency.

What is Binge Drinking?

There is a fine line between responsible drinking and abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control, binge drinking is typically identified by consumption that leads to a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 percent or higher. The amount of alcohol required to reach this level of intoxication varies from person to person, but generally, binge drinking occurs when a woman consumes at least 4 drinks or a man consumes at least 5 drinks over a period of two hours.  Unfortunately, most binge drinkers consume far more than that. Among U.S. adults, the average binge includes consumption of 8 drinks on average.

While frequent binge drinking is not necessarily an indication of alcoholism, long term alcohol abuse can lead to dependency. Alcohol addiction can be identified by a person’s strong cravings for alcohol or inability to limit or stop drinking. Alcohol consumption may continue despite negative physical or social consequences.

The problem does not stop with adults, either. Approximately 14 percent of adolescents age 12-20 are binge drinkers. It has been shown that heavy alcohol use affects a child’s brain development, which increases the risk of future dependency. Data from the American Psychological Association shows that children who start drinking by age 13 are 38 percent more likely to become dependent at some point in their lives. It is of note that this year’s theme for Alcohol Awareness Month is Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use. Parents play an important role in prevention. Fostering an atmosphere that encourages healthy conversations about alcohol can significantly reduce the risk of underage drinking.

Outside of dependence, binge drinking has been shown to cause or increase the risk of a wide range of social and health problems. Examples include:

The Public Burden of Binge Drinking

The effects of binge drinking go far beyond individual consequences. Society as a whole bears the burden, too. Economically speaking, alcohol abuse cost the U.S. more than $223 billion in 2006 alone, with approximately 75 percent of that cost attributed to binge drinking. By 2010, that number had risen to $249 billion. However, society is encumbered by far more than just financial consequences; binge drinking affects public health as well.

According to a CDC study, binge drinkers are 14-times more likely to drive while impaired by alcohol than people who do not binge drink. Not only does this pose a risk to the driver, but to other motorists and passengers as well. Approximately 10,000 people are killed every year in crashes for which alcohol impairment was a factor in the accident. Far more – approximately 1.4 million – are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). Despite arrests, fines, and even license suspension, many people who get a first DUI or DWI will be repeat offenders in the future.

Help for Binge Drinkers

If you or someone you know engages in risky drinking behavior, now is the time to get help. Every day is a new day at Recovery NOW, and it is never too late to begin the path to a brighter tomorrow. Call us today for more information about the binge drinking and alcohol dependency. We look forward to serving you soon.

shutterstock_20203288The holidays are an exciting time each year full of family, friends, and celebration. As fun as this season can be, it can also be a source of great stress – something that can trigger relapse in a person who is newly sobriety. In fact, of all the holidays, Christmas and New Years are the most common times for recovery setbacks. This year, take proactive steps to combat holiday stress before it becomes overwhelming. Read on to learn our top tips for beating stress this season.

Set a Budget

Finances are one of the number one causes of stress each December. Gift-giving takes center stage not only for family, but also for friends and co-workers. You may even find yourself buying gifts for teachers, hairdressers, and other professionals who serve you and your family throughout the year. As the bills start to pile up, overspending can make you feel like you’re in over your head – a dangerous stage for self-medication and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Instead of going into debt this December, set a strict budget and stick to it. Cut back on the number of gifts you buy, or find ways of lowering your costs, such as by baking cookies instead of giving an expensive gift. If possible, avoid the temptation to overspend by turning off holiday advertising and find free or low-cost ways of enjoying the holidays with your friends and family.

Plan Ahead

Nothing induces stress like scrambling at the last minute. Whether it’s tuning up the car before traveling, shopping for gifts, or preparing a menu, the earlier you begin preparing, the less likely you are to feel overwhelmed later on. Take time to plan your party outfits and wrap your gifts ahead of time. Not only will it relieve pressure to do it all at once, but it will also free up time to take care of the unexpected.

Create a Support System

Sometimes, it is other people who become a primary source of stress. Perhaps it is the person who steals your parking spot or contentious family members who cause your blood pressure to rise. In other cases, it may be old friends who undermine your sobriety by inviting you to gatherings where there will be alcohol or other substances. Whatever the case, it is important to lean on a support system of people who will help you cope with holiday stress and temptations in a healthy way. Fill up your schedule with sober friends, or spend more time with your recovery program. If you still have time to spare, try spending some time volunteering, engaging in healthy, holistic and stress-busting activities like meditation and yoga, or even picking up a few more hours at work.

Whether you have a history of overeating or struggled with substance abuse in the past, nothing can sway you faster than the holidays. With food and alcohol freely available, you may find it a challenge to remain sober this time of year. Don’t take on holiday stress alone. If you find it challenging to remain sober during the holidays, contact us here at RecoveryNOW to discuss ways you can combat stress this season.

marijuana-1Is Marijuana an Herb?

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S., with nearly 20 million people using it every month. Though it possesses legal medicinal uses, marijuana is most frequently used for recreation purposes in an effort to achieve a temporary, brain-altering ‘high’. Despite the side effects and medical emergencies that have been linked to the drug, illicit marijuana use is still widespread. In fact, many of its proponents call for legalization of the substance, claiming its herbal properties make it safe for use.

The reality is, learning how to stop smoking weed is extremely difficult – not only because smokers are physically addicted, but also mentally addicted.

Herbal Dosing

While it is true that marijuana is derived from the leaves and flowering buds of the cannabis plant, the purity and potency of the herb can vary significantly.  Since the FDA does not regulate the sale of herbs, and the government considers marijuana a drug, it is nearly impossible to know the exposure levels of THC or marijuana’s potency when being smoked, as levels of THC can vary significantly from plant to plant. For example, the buds tend to contain more THC than the leaves or stems, yet most recreational marijuana contains a mixture of each of the components of the plant, making it difficult to determine the amount of THC exposure.

Since THC is the component most associated with the ‘high’ of marijuana, the effects of smoking a recreational mixture of the substance can vary from batch to batch. Even in clinical studies for medicinal use, researchers have found difficulty calculating appropriate standard dosages of THC, as the biological interactions can vary from person to person. That is why the FDA has only given its approval to synthetic versions of THC, as the amounts of THC in the drug are more easily regulated. In fact, the FDA has not approved marijuana for any indications at all – including medicinal use or for the treatment of conditions like anxiety, insomnia or depression. We would recommend to keep up to date with Marijuana news on sites like Marijuana101.Org so you are always up to date with the current trends.


There has been suggestion that low level THC marijuana may have therapeutic benefits.  This low THC marijuana was most common in the 60’s and 70’s.  Possibly this may be more of an “herb” at low THC.  Since the 80’s growers of marijuana have mutated the buds in such a way that they have produced marijuana with enormous THC levels.  What once may have in fact been herbal, has now become an illicit drug with the same addictive qualities of drugs such as heroin, cocaine and other drugs.

Marijuana and THC are Not Safe

Aside from its mind-altering side effects, there are many other reasons for being cautious about marijuana and THC usage. One of the biggest concerns is the carcinogenic effects of smoking pot. Like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains several harmful chemicals that can irritate the bronchial airways, cause cancer and promote tumor growth. Furthermore, people who smoke marijuana tend to inhale deeper and longer, resulting in a 500 percent increase in carbon monoxide concentration and 3 times the tar exposure and retention.

Marijuana significantly impacts the motivation center of the brain as well as slowing down thought processes and delayed reaction response.  These effects may impair a person’s ability to perform at work or operate a motor vehicle.  The term, “up in smoke” is used to signify marijuana users sitting around talking about all of the things they plan to do which they never accomplish.  This difficulty following through, being ambitious and completing tasks in a timely manner is often caused by marijuana use for those individuals who use daily.

Smoking marijuana can also have a negative impact on fertility in both men and women. Research has shown that smoking marijuana can cause abnormal sperm shape, size and function. Men who smoke marijuana have also been found to have lower volumes of semen, as well as poor sperm motility. In women who smoke marijuana, THC can linger in the reproductive fluids, changing the quality and function of sperm that come in contact with it. Furthermore, marijuana use can lower the quality of the egg, preventing it from being fertilized or producing chromosomal abnormalities that result in miscarriage.  Other illicit drugs such as heroin, crack, cocaine and crystal methamphetamine do not cause the same infertility issues as marijuana.  This harmful effect of marijuana makes it even more concerning than other drugs.

Other side effects that have been linked to THC include:

Discontinuing marijuana use suddenly after daily use for a period of time 3 or more months may cause:

Marijuana and Mental Health

Marijuana produces mind-altering effects that have been linked to an increased risk of psychosis and other mental illnesses. Studies have shown that several factors contribute to the correlation between mental health and marijuana use, including the age of first use and genetic predisposition to mental illness. Adolescents and people with a family history of mental illness such as Bipolar Disorder or schizophrenia are more likely to develop psychosis with prolonged marijuana usage.  If they continue marijuana use after diagnosis and treatment, the individual is not likely to stabilize their mental illness.  There has been suggestion that the onset of mental illness may be earlier than otherwise would have been without marijuana use.

Some people may smoke marijuana in an effort to self-medicate for certain types of symptoms and mental health problems. The immediate effects of marijuana can be relaxing and euphoric, which may lead some to believe it can help problems like insomnia, anxiety and depression. In reality, marijuana use over time worsens these problems, causing additional sleep problems, paranoia and mental health imbalances.

Of course, marijuana can be addictive too. Repeated use of the substance can cause chemical changes within the brain, leading to dependency. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that nearly 1 in 10 marijuana users will become addicted to the drug, and nearly 1 in 5 will become dependent if they started using the substance during adolescence.  For those individuals who use marijuana during adolescence, the possibility exists that marijuana use may affect the brain development which continues until age 25.  

If you or someone you know has a problem with marijuana use or is exhibiting signs of dependency, help is available. Contact RecoveryNOW for more information about beginning the path to recovery.


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