Welcome to the Harmony Place Addiction Treatment and Addiction Recovery Blog

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Can You Force Someone Into Treatment?








You can lead an addict to rehab, but you can’t make them stay sober. Following the old adage, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink, this philosophy is confoundingly true. No matter the amount of interventions, the quality of treatment, the lack of quality of treatment, the threats, the ultimatums, cutting them off from the family, locking them down at home- you cannot force someone into treatment or into sobriety. Don’t take it personally, it isn’t about you. Scientifically, spiritually, it really, truly, isn’t about you.

Recovery is an immensely personal journey because addiction is an immensely personal disease. Addiction takes over the brain, the body, and the spirit, hijacking everything that is normal while causing it to act differently. One’s body, mind, and spirit, don’t belong to anyone else. The jurisdiction of addiction lies only in the hands of those who are addicted. Suffice to say, if an addict is going to go to treatment, going to get sober, and going to stay sober, it has to be their choice. After all, using drugs and alcohol was a choice.

Using the word “choice” is often controversial. According to the neurobiology of addiction, the specific way in which addiction affects the brain, addicts lose the constitutional capability to make choices; that is, at least, to make good choices. Each part of the brain is altered by the constant presence of drugs and alcohol, the repetitive surge of dopamine, and the relentless nagging of the reward system. Biological, social, psychological, and environmental factors, as well as genetic predisposition, all make the likelihood of not choosing drugs and alcohol small. However, there are many who have the same genetic risk, same environment, etc. who choose not to pick up and use. Even if they experiment, they don’t continue to do so.

Truly choosing sobriety and the lifestyle of recovery is taking the journey of addiction full circle. It means working against every impulse and urge to make new choices every minute. Choosing not to drink, choosing not to use drugs, choosing not to run, choosing not to self-sabotage. These choices cannot be made or forced by anyone else.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and feel it is time for treatment, call Harmony Place today. Our residential treatment programs bring together the best of scientific treatment and alternative healing to support the work required for recovery. With us, you never have to do the work alone. For a private consultation and more information, call us today at  1-855-627-1417.

All The Places You Haven’t Checked For Hidden Drugs In Your House








There’s a nagging suspicion eating away at you. As a parent, family member, friend, or loved one of someone living with a drug addiction, you want to believe the best. They said they were going to stop when you suggested they go to treatment. Together, you have been through the ups and downs of addiction. After this last conversation, you feel as though you really got through to them and they don’t need treatment, they just need to change. Yet, something doesn’t feel quite settled enough yet. You aren’t positive they’re really sober. You’ve asked. You’ve even tested. In that well trained gut you simply know they’re hiding something.

Addicts hide their drugs and their addiction for a simple reason: they want to protect their ability to use. The reason behind that simple reason isn’t so simple. Addiction is a complex mental health disorder in which the normal functions of the brain are altered. Rational decision making, good judgment, and even moral evaluation is lost under the influence of drugs. Addiction doesn’t mean someone is immoral. It means that their brains are no longer capable of making morally based or judgmentally sound decisions. Instead, the brain is completely focused on making choices which support the continued use of drugs. The brain has become chemically dependent upon drugs to survive. Additionally, the body has as well. As a result, addicts can go to great lengths and an impressive amount of creativity (and deception) to hide their drugs. The DEA lists some of these obscure hiding places as possible points of contention.

  • Alarm clocks
  • Calculators
  • Thick pens which can be opened
  • Underneath the insole of shoes to taped under the tongue
  • Candy bags and wrappers
  • Behind posters and wall art
  • Heating/AC vents
  • Hidden pockets in stuffed animals
  • Cars

Does this mean your loved one who has struggled with addiction is lying? Does it mean that even when they go to treatment and start living a recovery lifestyle they could be lying? It could mean all these things. As the loved one of someone with addiction and treatment, you have to learn to set boundaries for how far you are willing to let your intuition and/or paranoia go. Through family and relationship counseling, you and your loved one can create an open dialogue of honest communication, accountability, and compassion.
Harmony Place has seen the miracles of family healing. During the course of our residential treatment programs we encourage family healing through onsite therapy and skype sessions for long distance family members. For a private consultation and more information on our programs, call us today at  1-855-627-1417.

How Do I Know If I Need Treatment For OCD And Co-Occurring Addiction?









People are prone to developing compulsive behaviors and habits upon which they rely. Washing their hands, using hand sanitizer, making sure everything is clean and tidy, checking the door four times before leaving the house- small actions like these can become part of our daily routines. However, when these actions become a result of obsessive thinking, it might be a greater problem. Obsessive compulsive disorder includes harmful, invasive, obsessive thoughts which can only be remedied by a compulsive behaviors. For example, someone may be overcome with anxiety that a loved one will be in a car accident on their way home from work. As a result, it is necessary to organize and reorganize the spice shelf for an hour. The relationship between obsessive thought and compulsive behavior doesn’t often make sense. That is the key sign for the difference between a compulsive habit and a true diagnosis of OCD. Compulsively using hand sanitizer to please a germ-phobia is different from being convinced that the hand sanitizer could prevent a catastrophic event.

If you are experiencing an addiction, you are already in need of treatment. Addiction is a fully developed chemical dependency on drugs and/or alcohol which can result in drastic life changes. People who sue drugs and alcohol to cope with OCD do so in order to avoid the pressure of obsessive thoughts and the guilt of having to act on them compulsively. Addiction is a disorder of obsession and compulsion. Cravings are obsessive thoughts which the brain can take to the next level. Since addiction overrides the brain’s order of survival operations, drugs and alcohol start to feel like a life or death choice. Convinced that terrible things will happen without using drugs and alcohol, an addict feels they have to act compulsively, i.e. using drugs and alcohol, to make the thoughts go away.

Addiction and co-occurring OCD can be treated through long term residential care. Treating both OCD and substance use disorders is essential for total healing. Approaching co-occurring OCD and addiction with a holistic approach ensures that a client will be treated for emotional wellness, physical wellness, and spiritual wellness concurrently.
Harmony Place offers integrative residential treatment programs from detox to transitional living. Through every step of treatment, our clients receive the utmost quality of care with a highly individualized treatment program. For a private consultation and information on our programs, call us today at  1-855-627-1417.

This Is The Science Of Why Exercise Is Good For Recovery








We hear a lot about why exercise is good for recovery from addiction, alcoholism, and co-occurring mental health disorders. During treatment, there are exercise classes, outdoor excursions, and yoga classes regularly schedule to keep the body moving. The benefits of exercise are never short to be shared. What exactly makes exercise so beneficial for recovery? It releases dopamine in exactly the same way addiction does.

This Is How Abundant Dopamine Is Released:

  • First, drugs and alcohol hit the central nervous system. Some drugs like methamphetamine and other synthetic or amphetamine substances are central nervous system drugs meaning they hit the system more directly. Others take time metabolizing in the blood stream.
  • Next, beta-endorphins bind mu-opioid receptors, targeting presynaptic nerve terminals
  • They inhibit the release of ABA which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter
  • As a result, the brain produces an excess amount of dopamine
  • Dopamine, a neurotransmitter for pleasure and reward, inundates the brain

Dopamine can be released in this way from other activities and substances from drugs and alcohol. Sugar, though commonly called a drug of its own, causes a surplus in the production of dopamine. Exercise, a healthy alternative, produces dopamine this way as well. As Emax Health writes, “The release of dopamine can also happen through exercising, as it has been proven to regulate brain function.” Additionally, the article cites, “Exercising is an effective strategy for drug addiction recovery, because it can increase endorphin release, reduce anxiety, and induce a general feeling of well-being.”

Exercise is a realistic way of creating pleasure, as opposed to drug and alcohol addiction. The article explains that “this feel good process that dopamine release generates, is artificially created by the consumption of drugs and also alcohol.”

Physical activity and regular exercise should be a core component of every treatment program and personal program of recovery. 20 minutes of exercise a day is the minimum requirement of what is need to keep the heart, mind, and body healthy. Recovery from addiction and alcoholism has to be holistic, using science backed treatment methods to heal mind, body, and spirit.
Harmony Place wants to help you do the work to create the change you need for recovery. From residential detox to vocational training during transitional living, our continuum of care provides treatment beyond exception. For a private consultation and more information on our programs, call us today at 1-855-627-1417.

What Do I Need To Know About The New Drug “Gray Death”?








Reports from various parts of the country have spread word of the latest threat in the opioid epidemic, a synthetic opioid substance called “Gray Death”.


Gray death gets its namesake from the color and texture of the deadly drug. Gray like concrete, the synthetic opioid substance can be found in varying shades of grey. Texturally, gray death will be either in a fine, grey powder, or in grey chunks like powdery rocks.

Chemical Makeup:

The most threatening part of gray death is what was combined to create it. Since fentanyl became a household known brand name of synthetic opioids, many other analogues, or distant relatives of fentanyl, have surged in popularity. As overseas drug manufacturers have gained more and more access to chemical formulas for failed synthetic opioids, the drugs have increased in strength. For example, quickly after fentanyl made an appearance, carfentanil started gaining a reputation. Used as a tranquilizer for considerably sizable animals like elephants, carfentanil can be up to 1,000 times stronger than morphine, whereas fentanyl alone is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Intermittently, other synthetic opioid analogues quickly came in then were quickly banned by the DEA. Names like W-18 and U-47700 came in bright colors and misinformed packages, claiming lives through overdose. Gray death is a combination of all of these synthetic opioids combined, making it an absolutely lethal drug.


The chemical makeup of gray death is just one of the factors which make it a terrifying new drug on the market. Officials have reported that the synthetic opioid can be absorbed through the skin, and in a powder form in small doses, it can be hard to see. Meaning, just being in the same immediate area as gray death when it is opened up could lead to intoxication and potentially overdose.

Side Effects:

Addiction to gray death has not yet been closely examined because of how new it is. However, considering the deadly combination of synthetic opioids which come together in gray death, addiction is unlikely. Still, when the body and brain have developed a high enough tolerance, it is possible to use gray death continuously, which would lead to a debilitating addiction. The greatest side effect of gray death is that it is highly lethal and can cause immediate overdose.
Harmony Place seeks to serve opioid addicts with the utmost care and compassion from detox to transitional living. Our luxury residential treatment programs and recovery services support clients in doing creating a new life in recovery, healed mind, body, and spirit. For a private consultation and more information on our programs, call us today at  1-855-627-1417.

Change Negative Stress To Positive Stress With These 3 Steps








  • Calm Down Your Body. When you’re under a peak amount of stress, trying to relax the body is one of the last things you are thinking about. Priority is given to all those stressful things swirling around your mind. If you can take care of all of your stressors, you won’t be so stressed. Here’s a secret about stress: it’s always around, because it lives inside of us. Stress is part of what makes you a human being. The fight or flight system which used to help us escape deadly predators is an ancient part of our existence. Adrenaline and cortisol are two stress hormones which are released when the fight or flight system is activated. Checking in with your body can help you find where your stress is and work on relaxing the body. Relaxing the body communicates the brain and turns off the red alert. All the things causing you stress might not go away. It’s guaranteed they’ll seem a little less stressful and you’ll be able to handle them more manageably.
  • Let Your Stress Out. If you’re so stressed you can’t even deal with your stress, you have got to deal with your stress. There are plenty of healthy ways to cope with stress like taking a walk, going for a run, dancing, cooking, or talking to a friend. Negative stress is only negative when you continue to make it negative. You might have to ask yourself an uncomfortable couple of questions: Am I making this stress negative? Do I want to make this stress negative? Do I like having negative stress? Your answer could be yes to all of the above. Being in a state of chaos and stress is something that many people who have become addicted to drugs and alcohol find themselves in.
  • Switch Your Negative To Positive. If only it were that simple- but thankfully, it is that simple. It will take some time to identify your negative stress and learn to mindfully step out of it in the moment. Once you become aware, it’s hard to become unaware, making the practice easier and easier. As you become more familiar with your negative stress, counteract it with positive stress. Turn your negative thought patterns into positive thought patterns. Replace catastrophizing with practical solution and rationality. Swap ultimatums with options. Shift from self-sabotage to self-care.

Recovery starts with change. Change has to take place mind, body, and spirit. Harmony Place offers dual diagnosis residential treatment programs and a continuum of care to support your journey of change from start to finish. For a private consultation and more information on our programs, call us today at  1-855-627-1417.

Do You Need Treatment For A Mental Health Issue? 5 Signs








The warning signs of mental health issues can be easily missed. If your mental health is struggling, you might notice these signs. You don’t have to struggle. Help is available.


  • You really “can’t even”. Coping with everyday life feels like more of a struggle than you think it should. From the minute you wake up in the morning to the minute you go to sleep, you’re struggling with life- every single part of it. Whatever your struggle is, whether you’re depressed or anxious, or just generally having a hard time coping, it is starting to take a toll on you. No matter what you try, if you can muster the motivation to try anything new, nothing seems to help you deal.
  • You’re acting impulsively. Impulses can be a sign of altered chemical balance in the brain. It can also be a sign of struggling mental health. Sometimes, we begin to act impulsively to avoid certain feelings, typically feelings which are difficult and uncomfortable. Impulsivity is closely related to thrill seeking and risk taking which can both bring us a surge of adrenaline and feel good hormones as well as feel good chemicals in the brain.
  • You’re feeling more down than usual. Depression can be subtle or severe. Perhaps you’re not crying in bed everyday, but your energy, physically and emotionally, feels lower than usual. Too many people mistake a developing case of depression as “the blues” or going through a phase.
  • You’re feeling more stressed than usual. Everything seems to be stressing you out. You’re constantly thinking and worrying, day and night. It feels as though if someone put one more thing on your mind you might break under the pressure. As a result, you’re feeling the effects physically. You get dizzy, have headaches, experience chest pains, and have stomach cramps.
  • You’re stuck in the past. It’s possible you know exactly what is causing you all this mental distress. Yet, you don’t’ understand why it continues to be an issue because it’s in the past. Unresolved trauma or any kind of past issues can become a major problem. If you’re constantly ruminating about past events, or the thought of them is causing you to become depressed, have anxiety, or act impulsively, it might be time to work on them.

Overcoming mental health issues takes work. At Harmony Place, you never have to do the work alone. Our small staff to client ratio and highly customized treatment programs help clients heal mind, body, and spirit while developing a lifestyle of recovery. For a private consultation and more information, call us today at  1-855-627-1417.

Don’t Be Afraid Of What People Will Think When You Talk About Addiction And Recovery








You make a judgment about someone within the first thirty seconds of meeting them. It isn’t that you’re judgmental as a person. It’s just that you’re a person and that makes you judgmental. The human brain, for all it’s miraculous capability, is incredibly lazy. It takes as many shortcuts as it can to do as little work as possible. Stigma and stereotype are perpetuated because of this tendency. Judgments and categorizations do as well. Instead of diving into the complexity of how unique each individual person is when you meet them, you swiftly jumpt to conclusions and abruptly get to work on making assumptions. It’s just easier. Nobody likes it. Everybody does it.

“Status anxiety” is a term used by Alain De Botton, a published author and proclaimed philosopher. Experiencing status anxiety means feeling a sudden worry about how others are creating their perceptions of you upon meeting you. For those who are in recovery from addiction, alcoholism, and other mental health disorders, such status anxiety is heightened by the immediately hidden fact that one is an “addict” or an “alcoholic” or lives with “mental illness”.

Don’t be afraid of what people will think if you decide to talk to them about addiction and recovery. You likely have created your own story about them, even if it only includes assuming they are thinking something awful about you because you’re a person with mental illness. There’s a few simple truths:

  • It doesn’t matter what other people think about your recovery, it matters what you think about your recovery
  • What other people think about you and your recovery doesn’t define who you are
  • You don’t need people to validate you or your journey in recovery
  • People who do make negative judgments and assumptions are just proof that you must be an advocate for mental health awareness

Remember that the uniqueness of who you are cannot be summarized by “I’m an addict” “I’m an alcoholic” or “I have a mental illness”. Simple characteristics and shortcuts to defining the amazing vastness of all that is you is just an act of the ego. Don’t be hurt by what isn’t true. There’s more to you than meets the eye.

Start by practicing mindfulness when you meet new people. Try to notice your thoughts. What stories are you coming up with? Are any of them rooted in negative beliefs? Would you like to change those beliefs?

Recovery begins with change. Open to all those seeking recovery, the dual diagnosis programs at Harmony place offer residential treatment and a continuum of care beyond exception. For a private consultation and more information, call us today at  1-855-627-1417.

Are Mannequins Contributing To Poor Body Image?








Though they are supposed to mimic the human body for displaying clothes which will be worn on real human bodies, mannequins seem to be anything but realistic. Often times, the prosthetic forms are abstract beyond recognition, mirroring a body image that not many people see in their own mirror’s reflection. Research suggests that mannequins may have more of an effect than being a blatant misrepresentation of the human body. The unrealistic thinness most mannequins in fashion shops have could be hurting body image in many people.

The Journal Of Eating Disorders recently published a study conducted by the University of Liverpool in Britain. In the study, researchers compared the body type portrayed by mannequins to those portrayed by most people. For the average female mannequin, the represented body size was equal to a woman who would be categorized as severely underweight. As for male bodies, they were always bigger than the female bodies and only a small amount of the male mannequins examine represented what would be considered an unhealthy weight in males.

Emphasizing extreme thinness as part of the mainstream ideology regarding body image and body size is a major contributing factor to low self-esteem, poor body image, and can be part of the obsessive thinking in eating disorders. Getting rid of extremely thin mannequins won’t be the solution to the overall problem of body image. Culture as a whole needs to move past the idea that thinness is perfection and that perfection is even real. Each individual has a specific genetic makeup which gives their body healthy limitations.

Body image and eating disorders are a major cause in Great Britain where treatment for eating disorders has become impossible for those struggling to get into. In America, the problem is equally as great. Around the world, countries have taken measures to fight against the unrealistic ideals of body image. Israel, for example, requires that all media which has been digitally altered display a stamp letting people know it isn’t a real image. France most recently banned fashion runway models who have a BMI below the country’s health standard. Other countries which are central to fashion events have started to take similar actions.

Developing a healthy body image while recovering from an eating disorder and a co-occurring substance use disorder is possible with attentive, scientifically backed treatment. Harmony Place offers luxury residential treatment programs which bring together science and spirituality for total healing and transformation in mind, body, and spirit. For a private consultation and more information on our programs, call  1-855-627-1417.

3 New Mindfulness Exercises You Haven’t Tried Yet









Getting tired of the same old mindfulness practices? Here are some new ways to become present.

Look Up For A While

You may want to take this practice laying down so you don’t strain your neck. The sky can be a very calming place. We often don’t look up enough. Consumed by our immediate surroundings, we forget to take into consideration the atmosphere. It’s a big sky up there, our personal “space roof” to what lies beyond the confines of planet earth. Looking up can help you become instantly mindful, inspiring you to take a deep breath and focus on your breathing. You can’t help but breathe deep as you watch the clouds go by, effortlessly changing shape. At night, you can wonder about the stars and become aware of your place on earth. For some people, such contemplations are too deep. For many others, it is a practice of becoming entirely present and thinking about one’s life in a meditative way.

Do That Thing

You know, that thing you’ve been putting off doing for weeks now. Even though you think you’re ignoring it, it is taking up room in your mind. Reminding yourself not to think about it takes a lot of work! A great practice in mindfulness is eliminating what takes you out of being fully present and moving forward. Taking care of tasks doesn’t require sitting, body scanning, and focusing on the breath. Mindfulness isn’t all about that. Sometimes, mindfulness is in action, rather than sitting still. Clearing your mind of unfinished business makes room for what might come next when you are fully present and engaged.

Stay Connected To Nature

Once, you took an amazing hike. Along the way, you saw incredible views. After, you realized, you had never felt better. Returning to your daily life, you find that you constantly wish you could feel what you felt when you were in nature. Happify suggests creating a touchstone of mindfulness to bring you back to that place and help you be more present with that energy. Pick up a rock, use a stone, or maybe find a shell by the shore. When you see it and touch it, you can be instantly connected to that energy.

Recovery begins with change. Change takes work, but the work never has to be done alone. At Harmony Place, we work with each client on a highly individualized basis providing care beyond exception along a continuum of treatment options. For a private consultation and more information, call us today at  1-855-627-1417.


How Can We Show Addicts More Empathy?








Empathy and compassion are missing from the way the world views addicts and alcoholics. In the fight against shame and stigma, empathy couldn’t be more important.

Learn More About Addiction By Reading More About Addiction

It is easy to get burned out on meetings, articles, and information about addiction. Much scientific research and current headlines are dedicated to the same facts and theories about addiction. Empathizing with science and statistics isn’t always easy. Empathizing with true humanity and the human experience is. Instead of looking for factual information, try reading memoirs and biographies of people who have chronicled their journey through addiction and recovery. If you have a loved one currently struggling with addiction or who is in treatment for an addiction, you can attend an AA, NA, or Al-Anon meeting, or any other 12 step meeting, where you can hear people’s personal journeys. Most meetings are open, without a need to disclose who you are or why you are there.

Support The Fight Against Addiction

Addiction is sadly a case of “othering”. Addiction, to many people, is what happens to other people, in other areas, with other families. Anyone can be affected by addiction. As the numbers increase, the likelihood increases that you know someone currently struggling with or has struggled with addiction in the past. Stand as an advocate against addiction by supporting recovery. Learning more about addiction, taking progressive action against laws which hurt addicts, and supporting a loved one in recovery gives you an inside look at what they are up against. Shame, stigma, and stereotype are faced by everyone with a mental health disorder, especially addiction.

Ask Questions More Often

The realities of addiction can be unsettling. Empathy means understanding that sometimes the human experience can drive someone to unthinkable places in their life. Rather than shudder away the difficult stories of addiction, ask questions. Careful not to enable euphoric recall or prompt triggering questions about trauma, ask what the experience is like and how recovery is affecting them today. You’ll gain insight into the personal experiences addicts and alcoholics have while getting a deeper understanding of recovery as well.
Harmony Place welcomes men and women with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders to our luxury residential programs where science and spirituality meet. Healing mind, body, and spirit, our programs are bringing recovery to life. For a private consultation, call us today at  1-855-627-1417.

Emotional Wellness: Getting In Touch Essential For Recovery








Emotions don’t make you weak, if that’s the first thought which came to mind. For many people it is. Emotions, feelings, being sensitive, all get a bad reputation due to the shame and stigma of mental health, the way genders are stereotyped, and our general society. Simultaneously we live in a world that tells us not to feel anything for sake of showing face, yet to feel everything authentically and be empowered by it. Emotions are what makes us human. They are what defines us as sentient beings with a conscious, a heart, and a soul. Addicts and alcoholics are often criticized for being something other than human because they seem to disconnect from their emotions. Self-centered, inconsequential, and detached from the harm caused to others by their actions, addicts and alcoholics can be without emotion.

Unfortunately, the stigma and shame surrounding addiction paints the picture backwards. Addicts and alcoholics aren’t emotionless beings- they aren’t psychopaths. Instead, they are living with a mind altering illness which has disrupted their brain function in such a way that they cannot access their emotions. More often than not, the people who are living with addiction and alcoholism are incredibly sensitive. They are often intuitive, empathic, and full of emotion. Many also find that when they are diagnosed with a substance use disorder they are also diagnosed with a co-occurring mental health disorder which has caused them difficult with their emotions as well.

Emotional wellness is essential for recovery from addiction, alcoholism, and any co-occurring mental health disorders. It means getting in touch with your emotions and working through them, understanding them, learning to identify them, and using tools to manage them. Being emotionally well means being well physically and spiritually. Emotional wellness spreads to other parts of the body and the holistic being because emotions are energy. Maintaining emotional wellness is the key to maintaining energy which is important for avoiding relapse and falling into emotional traps which can lead to relapse.
Harmony Place focuses on healing mind, body, and spirit in each client through highly individualized treatment programs. Through each phase of treatment on our continuum of care, clients are met with integrity, science, and compassion. Our goal is to help you lay the foundation for lifelong recovery. For a private consultation and more information on our programs, call us today at  1-855-627-